You knew Bears general manager Ryan Pace would trade up eventually, and he did so in the fifth round, drafting Tulsa defensive end Trevis Gipson at No. 155 overall. The Bears sent a 2021 fourth-rounder to the Vikings to make the trade, meaning they did not lose their original fifth round pick at No. 163. That is completely normal compensation for such a trade.
As for Gipson, he was a fifth-year senior at Tulsa who started in his final two seasons. At 6-foot-6 3/8, 261 pounds, he’s big and lanky. Gipson played in a three-down front at Tulsa and is somewhat of a tweener at the next level. Teams had to decide whether or not to bulk him up to keep him on the line or switch him to outside linebacker. The Bears plan to use him as an outside edge rusher behind Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn.
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Strengths: The 81-1/4-inch wing span can’t be taught. There’s room for more strength to be added to his frame. You can’t argue with the production, as Gipson had 12 sacks and 24 TFLs in his final two seasons. The eight forced fumbles in his career show he has a nose for the football.
Weaknesses: Gipson’s tall frame doesn’t give him a lot of leverage when he lines up with his hand on the ground. He may have more success as an edge rusher. Gipson is more of a project with the traits to develop into a starter if he refines his technique.
The quote: Gipson on if he can play outside linebacker in a 3-4: "I feel like I’m a good edge defender. I feel like I can stand up two-point or put my hand in the dirt. I feel like I play with relentless effort. As far as being a relentless edge defender, I feel that you’ve got to stop the run first, play the pass next, and I feel like I can do both."
Ryan Pace's take: "Tremendous upside as a pass rusher. At Tulsa, he played a lot with his hand down, almost as a five technique. We think some of his traits can exceed even more in our defense. There’s just a lot of natural pass rush traits to him, and I think they all translate to our game very well. He’s got a rugged style of play. He went to the Senior Bowl, really stepped up and rose to the occasion. He had a great week of practice. He followed it up with a great Senior Bowl game and a lot of excellent interviews with us along the way as we did our preparation. He just gave us a lot of confidence to go up and get him where we got Trevis."
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It wasn't long ago that the Chicago Bears offensive line was considered a strength of the team. They were one of the best in the NFL in 2018. The Bears' starting five was a big reason why the team went 12-4 and won the NFC North that year, but that wasn't the case in 2019. Chicago's offensive line had a lot to do with the team's underwhelming 8-8 season.
As a result, the Bears' starting group isn't getting much respect entering the 2020 season. According to Pro Football Focus' recent ranking of all 32 offensive lines, Chicago checks in at No. 22.
The Bears regressed from a fringe top-10 offensive line in 2018 to the 25th-ranked unit last season despite most of the group remaining intact. Left tackle Charles Leno saw the biggest drop-off in play, as he had four straight seasons grading in the 70s from 2015 to 2018 but finished at just 58.6 overall last season, good for just 64th out of 82 qualifiers. Leno earned his worst pass-blocking grade since 2015 while posting the lowest run-blocking grade of his career, at 47.5.
While PFF's ranking isn't great, there was a bit of optimism baked in. The analytics powerhouse still believes in the o-line's potential.
The Bears have the pieces to rank among the top 10-15 offensive lines in the league, but they need the tackles to get back to their 2018 form to go with progression from at least two players on the interior.
One of the big reasons why the Bears' offensive line struggled last year was the aftermath of Kyle Long's injury. Rashaad Coward was elevated to the first team; Cody Whitehair and James Daniels swapped positions. The best offensive lines have continuity, and that was lost in 2019.
With Germain Ifedi stepping into the right guard spot in 2020, and both Whitehair and Daniels settled in at center and left guard, the Bears will begin this season in much better shape and with a much better chance to return to the level of play we saw in 2018.