Bears further beef up O-line with Mills
April, 27, 2013
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesBears draft pick Jordan Mills showed off his skills in the Senior Bowl.LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Saturday’s fifth-round choice of Louisiana Tech offensive tackle Jordan Mills is just the latest in a series of moves the Chicago Bears have made to overhaul the offensive line -- clearly the weakest unit on the team last season in the eyes of general manager Phil Emery.
The Bears are set at left tackle with Pro Bowler Jermon Bushrod.
On the right side - it’s a different story.
Veterans J'Marcus Webb and Jonathan Scott are expected to battle it out for the starting right tackle job, but neither is assured of a spot long-term. Webb and Scott are signed through 2013.
Mills is a versatile player who lined up primarily at tackle at Louisiana Tech, but also spent time at guard in 2009. At 6-5, 315 pounds, Mills has the size to play offensive tackle in the NFL, however, the Bears do seem determined to plug in larger bodies inside at guard.
“I’ll play anywhere, left side or right side.” Mills. “I told my coaches I’ll play anywhere they need me. Wherever they need me to win, I’ll be there. Like I told my coaches, if they need me at H-Back to lead block, I’ll do that.”
Mills already has a decent working knowledge of the Bears’ personnel on offense.
“I know they have Jay Cutler, I know they have Devin Hester and a beast of wide receiver Brandon Marshall,” Mills said. “I know they just got the tackle from New Orleans, Bushrod.
“This offensive line is going to be good. I’m going to try to come in and show my leadership... but I will sit behind Bushrod and everybody else and just try to soak up all the knowledge I can.”
With Mills and first round pick Kyle Long, the Bears added two offensive linemen capable of playing inside or outside. It’s not inconceivable that down the line Long is the Bears’ right tackle and Mills handles one of the guard spots. Of course, both of the young linemen have to pan out for this to happen.
In the short-term, the drafting of Mills and Long, coupled with the offseason signing of free agent Eben Britton, casts even more doubt about the future of 2011 first-round choice Gabe Carimi. Carimi appears to be squarely on the bubble heading into training camp, and if the recent moves are any indicator, could face long odds just to make the team.