Chicago Bears: The state of the offensive line

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears Charles Leno
Chicago Bears (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Left Tackle – Charles Leno, Jr.

I have to admit, I am shocked that Charles Leno, Jr. is still in a Chicago Bears uniform. I thought for sure the seventh round pick would have been merely a stop-gap player. He has proven me wrong though and has turned into a solid left tackle for the Bears.

What stands out the most to me regarding Leno is his availability. Leno has started in every game since taking over as the starting left tackle in 2015. That is 61 games without an injury. Hopefully, I did not jinx him for 2019.

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Coming out of Boise St., Leno had to prove he could match up well against NFL talent. According to his NFL draft profile, Leno was projected as a fifth or sixth round prospect. He was predicted to be a backup, most suited as a swing tackle who could play multiple positions on the line. Looks like he proved me and most of the NFL scouts wrong.

In 2018, Pro Football Focus gave Charles Leno a grade of 75.3. This is an above average grade and made him the 19th best offensive tackle in the game last season. Leno is both a solid pass blocker and run blocker. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2018 as an alternate.

Over his career, Leno has committed 15 false-start penalties and 10 holding penalties. Last season, he allowed seven sacks but did not have any holding penalties. The seven sacks were the worst in his career. Mitch Trubisky’s scrambling accounted for a few of these sacks, but it would be nice to see Leno get back to his 2017 season form of allowing only one sack in 16 games.

The Chicago Bears signed Leno to a 4-year, $37,000,000 contract extension last season. He is now locked in as the Bears starting left tackle for the next three years. However, according to Spotrac, the Bears would only have a $1,800,000 dead cap hit in 2020.

Theoretically meaning the Bears could part ways with Leno next season if they find someone younger, better and less expensive to man the left the side of the line. Personally, I think Leno will be protecting Mitch Trubisky’s blind side for at least the next two seasons, possibly longer.