When the Chicago Bears placed Chris Williams on injured reserve it opened a spot on the 53-man roster, one that is still yet to be filled. The team is obviously looking to fill the void with another offensive lineman.
To that end, Chicago today worked out Mansfield Wrotto, a six-year NFL veteran who is currently a free agent. Wrotto (6-3, 326) was drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell was president of the Seahawks when Wrotto was drafted. Just like Chris Spencer, Ruskell is looking at his former players to fill current needs.
The problem is that Wrotto is a mediocre offensive guard, at best. During his four seasons in Seattle, he started just five games, and was active for only 16, before being cut early last year. He caught on with the Buffalo Bills and started seven games but was then released following the season.
If signed, by no means would he start for Chicago. In essence, he would just be another body to fill up a roster spot.
Which is why the Bears need to look internally for a roster replacement along the offensive line. Specifically, the team should promote Levi Horn to the active roster. Horn (6-7, 315) has spent the past year and a half on Chicago's practice squad. During training camp this past offseason, Horn played both right guard and right tackle. He's much more proficient at tackle and was showing very well toward the end of the preseason.
The Bears are hesitant to make the move, as they'd likely prefer a pure guard to take the roster spot. Yet no matter who the player is, Chicago will not be asking him to start unless another injury befalls the front five. So why not give Horn the promotion he deserves?
If another player went down, Chicago has enough flexibility to shift players around and find a spot for Horn on the right edge. Lance Louis and Chris Spencer can play either guard position, and will be forced to do so if Gabe Carimi comes back this season. And if Horn is called into duty, could he possibly be any worse than Frank Omiyale was at right tackle?
Instead of wasting their valuable time and resources flying in players that, through nine weeks of the 2011 NFL season, still aren't signed, give Horn a shot and see if he might be a viable option going forward.
**UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune reports the Bears also worked out tackle Renardo Foster and guard Mike Gibson today.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.