The Chicago Bears want Charles Leno, the club's seventh round pick last season, to be the team's left tackle of the future. The second-year player out of Boise State has started nine games this season and, according to Pro Football Focus, he's given up four sacks, five QB hits and 23 QB hurries, all of which are team highs.
Leno is a work in progress for sure but does he have the skill set and potential to be Chicago's blindside protector next year and beyond?
To find out, I broke down All-22 game film. Here's what I found.
On our first snap, Leno squares off against Oakland DE Mario Edwards Jr. We start at the moment of first contact for this single block.
Edwards attempts to turn the corner but Leno lower his base, sinks his hips and stonewalls the defender, using his arms to maintain separation.
Leno's edge block creates a lane for Jay Cutler, who scrambles toward the line of scrimmage.
The space up front allows Cutler to find TE Zach Miller on an intermediate crossing route. Yet Leno isn't done, as he sprints out to the spot of the catch.
Miller tries to pick up extra yards after the catch and slides behind Leno, who absolutely blows up the pursuing linebacker.
Leno tells the defender he'd better stay on his back if he knows what's good for him.
Analysis: This is one of my favorite plays from Leno all season. We first see his powerful anchor, something he repeatedly shows on film. The player he replaced, Jermon Bushrod, often looked like he was on skates when trying to stop a bull rush. With Leno, he has the lower body strength and overall balance to stymie power rushes.
This is a bootleg away from Leno, who attacks 49ers OLB Ahmad Brooks off the weak-side edge.
The defender uses a swim move to turn the corner and he begins sprinting after Cutler. Yet Leno doesn't give up on the play and chases Brooks through the backfield.
Brooks nearly catches Cutler and is about to hit him as he's releasing the ball, yet Leno is able to close ground and gets a last-second hand on the defender, allowing the pass to get off cleanly.
Analysis: This play not only shows Leno's athleticism but also his desire to finish the play. Like the previous snap we analyzed, Leno does not quit until the whistle and uses every last effort to keep Cutler from getting hit.
This is a single block for Leno against Rams DE Eugene Sims.
Here we see first contact, about four yards to Cutler's left. Notice Leno's arms are fully extended and his legs wider than his shoulders. That's textbook technique.
Here again we see Leno sink his hips and stop the defender in his tracks.
As Cutler releases the pass, Sims is nowhere near him.
Analysis: This is just another example, of which there are many, of Leno stopping a bull rush using balance and strength.
This is a one-on-one block between Leno and Chargers OLB Melvin Ingram, who begins his rush by working up Leno's outside shoulder.
Ingram tries to swim inside but Leno locks him up and slides his feet inside, not allowing the defender interior penetration.
Leno keeps his body between the defender and the quarterback, offering Cutler an outside scramble lane.
Analysis: Here Leno shows good footwork and balance, eliminating an inside counter move from one of the league's best edge rushers.
Here we have Leno lining up a block on Packers OLB Clay Matthews. Off the screen to Leno's left will come an extra rusher on the blitz.
Matthews cuts inside and Leno follows him but only halfway, as he become confused mid-play about which defender to block.
Both defenders fly into the backfield on either side of Leno, forcing an early, incomplete pass by Cutler.
Analysis: One of Leno's biggest weaknesses is in blitz pickup. On this play, he starts off well but becomes instantly hesitant once Matthews cuts inside. His delay in movement, and overall confusion, allows two rushers a free run at Cutler.
Here again we see the Packers overload the left side of the offensive line, sending rushers on both sides of Leno.
Leno puts a hand on the inside rusher but passes him off to LG Matt Slauson. Leno's inside step gives the blitzer an open edge lane.
Notice Leno blocking no one as Cutler is chased out of the pocket.
Analysis: For our second straight snap we see Leno struggle to pick up an off-balance blitz on his side. Obviously, his blitz awareness needs a lot of work.
On our final snap, the Rams will use a delayed stunt, smashing the defensive end inside and swinging the linebacker around behind him. This play is designed to fool Leno.
Leno rides the defensive end inside and gets caught up in the wash. As a result, he doesn't notice the linebacker crossing his face.
As if he's caught in quicksand, Leno is stuck flat-footed as the linebacker collapses the pocket.
Analysis: Leno is late to recover on this play and does not have the lateral quickness to pick up the blitzing linebacker.