In one of the more (few?) sane decisions we’ve heard out of Halas Hall this season, sophomore tackle Chris Williams will start at left tackle against the Rams. Of course the move wouldn’t have been made if not for Orlando Pace’s groin injury, so there’s some usual perspective for us.
Williams was drafted in 2008 as an immediate starter at left tackle, but had back surgery after just one training camp practice. Then he missed his entire rookie season for all intents and purposes. It was revealed that Jerry Angelo and his personnel staff knew about recurring back issues Williams had in college-go figure.
When the Bears made the ill-advised signing of Orlando Pace in April, Williams was shifted to right tackle, and his performance in 2009 there has been questionable. I’m not saying Williams will work out on the left side, but it’s definitely time to find out whether he will or not.
Williams was drafted as part of a bumper crop of first-round tackles in 2008. Jake Long (Dolphins) was the first overall selection, then Ryan Clady (Broncos) was selected just two spots ahead of Williams. Selected after Williams were Branden Albert (Chiefs), Jeff Otah (Panthers), Gosder Cherilus (Lions), Sam Baker (Lions) and Duane Brown (Texans).
Long and Clady were immediate Pro Bowlers, adding the 2008 draft to the list of many that the Bears were just a pick or two late selecting a Pro Bowler. Contrast that to the Vikings, who in unprecedented fashion screwed up in 2003 and fell back two picks, but STILL wound up with Kevin Williams. This a year after they missed drafting the player they wanted (DT Ryan Sims, bust) and wound up with OT Bryant McKinnie.
And that, my friends, is just one of the many reasons the Bears will be in a hole for years, while the Vikings have the best young offensive and defensive lines in football.