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Bears Banking on Past Scouting of Tackle Jason Spriggs

A player the Bears coveted in the 2016 draft is now their backup plan behind Bobby Massie and Charles Leno Jr. but they're hoping they won't need to turn to him like they did last year with Cornelius Lucas

The great hope by the Bears for their swing tackle is he stays on the bench and isn't necessary.

Of course, thinking injuries won't occur in the NFL is delusional.

Charles Leno Jr. has never missed a start since becoming the regular left tackle but Bobby Massie missed one game in each of his first two Bears seasons and then in his fourth year in 2019 missed six games.

The problem at swing tackle for the Bears isn't so much missed games but who the swing tackle is.

Last year it was Cornelius Lucas, and he proved a pleasant surprise with half a season of starts and a Pro Football Focus grade higher than anyone's on the offensive line. So naturally he left for greater things in Washington as a free agent.

The Bears settled on Green Bay's Jason Spriggs to bring in as a swing tackle after a series of injuries left him without a Packers job.

"Spriggs, he's coming off the injury, but we had big college grades on him," Bears GM Ryan Pace said. "He's still a young player."

The Bears had an interest in Spriggs in 2016 in Round 2 but the Packers had one, too. Green Bay traded up to draft Spriggs. So later the Bears traded down and drafted Cody Whitehair in a move which worked out great for them.

Spriggs has the physical tools but not the physical stability. He could actually stand to gain some weight at 6-foot-6, 301 pounds.

Spriggs' injury problems began after he was the only Packers rookie t play all 16 games, including two starts at right guard.

In 2017 he started out on injured reserve with a hamstring injury but was activated when eligible and made starts in Weeks 12-16 before a knee injury sent him back to injured reserve for the finale.

In 2018, Spriggs missed a game with an ankle injury and later suffered a concussion to miss the last two weeks.

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In 2019 he had an offseason elbow injury and then suffered a trapezius injury and went on injured reserve prior to the season. The Packers didn't bring him back with another contract after his fourth season.

All indications are Spriggs can play. He had Pro Football Focus blocking ratings of 64.7 and 64 in 2018 and 2017 respectively, and that's pretty average. He had seven penalties and six sacks allowed those two seasons.

Spriggs' height and smaller base make him a bit of a question as a run blocker. Scouts saw flaws in his technique coming into the draft out of Indiana but nothing serious, and loved his mobility.

The Bears last year hoped they wouldn't need to rely on Lucas but found he could play.

Now they have to hope their original thoughts on Spriggs back in the 2016 draft prove correct, if he's needed to fill in for Leno or Massie.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

Jason Spriggs at a Glance

Indiana T

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 302

Numbers: Spriggs played in 36 games with nine starts with the Packers but had just four holding penalties.

Roster Chances: 4 on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the most

2020 Projection: Two starts as a swing tackle, no holding penalties with one sack allowed.