GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 04: Charles Leno #78 of the Boise State Broncos celebrates after defeating the TCU Horned Frogs 17-10 during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 4, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jordan Mills had an excellent rookie season for the Chicago Bears, but he could have some competition when training camp rolls around.
That’s because Charles Leno Jr, the offensive tackle that the Bears selected with their seventh round pick in the NFL Draft over the weekend, agreed to a four-year contract with the team on Tuesday afternoon. A Boise State product, Leno started 39 games for the Broncos in his three college seasons, and he was named to the All-Mountain West Conference team during his senior season, in which he played left tackle.
Bears GM Phil Emery is working on getting all of his rookies under contract quickly, as he also signed QB David Fales and S Brock Vereen to contracts on Monday night.
As for Leno, he is going to be looked at as an option as a back-up at multiple positions, but he could challenge Mills for a starting spot, too. The Bears’ starting right tackle in 2013, Mills did start all 16 games for the Bears, but a broken foot at the end of the season has put a bit of a hindrance on his preparations for the 2014 campaign. He is still likely going to be the starter when training camp opens, but Leno may be given an opportunity to take some snaps at the position.
If Mills ends up getting the job over Leno, then there are still options in terms of where to use him. Eben Britton is currently the team’s swing tackle, but Leno could still fill in for both Matt Slauson and Jermon Bushrod on the left side of the line too. He is a versatile player with experience at both tackle positions, and Marc Trestman and Aaron Kromer will undoubtedly find places in which to use him when he comes into training camp.
The Bears will begin their rookie mini-camp on Friday morning at Halas Hall.