The Bears Make Major Improvements to Offensive Line
Last season, the Bears had a pretty good offensive line that shined in the run game, ranking fifth in PFF run block grade. They also ranked 11th in adjusted line yards, which attempts to separate the performance of an offensive line from the performance of the running back. Their pass blocking wasn’t quite as good, though, as they ranked 16th in PFF pass block grade and 32nd in adjusted sack rate, which adjusts sacks for down, distance, and opponent.
The Bears decided to make some upgrades on their offensive line, starting by signing guard Nate Davis to a three-year $30 million dollar contract. According to Brendan Sugrue of Bears Wire, “Davis excels in the run game, which is validated by the success Henry has had with the Titans over the last four seasons. He’s quick off the line and seeks out contact to open up running lanes.”
He has been fairly productive as a run blocker the last couple of years, sporting a PFF run block grade of 70+ in two of the last three seasons. He hasn’t been nearly as good of a pass blocker, though, and this will need to improve in Chicago.
The Bears kept addressing their offensive line after free agency, selecting Tennessee right tackle Darnell Wright with the ninth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Wright was very productive during his senior season at Tennessee, as he allowed zero sacks in 12 games and had a PFF grade of 71, the highest of his collegiate career. He is also a tremendous athlete. At this year’s NFL combine, he recorded a 9-foot-7 broad jump and a 1.75 10-yard split, which are both elite marks for an offensive tackle.
The additions of Nate Davis and Darnell Wright should improve the Bears’ offensive line, helping them get better in terms of both run blocking and pass blocking. They may not be game-changers, but they are solid players, and they should help out Justin Fields by opening up rushing lanes and keeping the opposing pass rush out of the backfield.