Lance Louis and J’Marcus Webb were two draft surprises late in the Jerry Angelo tenure, seventh-round draft choices who played their ways into starting jobs. Webb will be competing at right tackle for the Bears but Louis will be in Miami, agreeing to a deal with the Dolphins that also leaves the Bears understaffed at guard.
General manager Phil Emery said this month that Gabe Carimi will compete at both tackle and guard, where he started three games in place of Louis. Undrafted free agent James Brown started the last three games at left guard and Edwin Williams also is an option, although Williams lost the No. 1 job to Brown.
The Bears are expected to add veteran depth at guard, and the 2013 draft has prospects Jonathan Cooper from North Carolina and Chance Warmack from Alabama rated as high first-round picks.
Louis was graded as the Bears’ best offensive lineman in 2011 when he moved from right guard to right tackle after Carimi suffered a season-ending knee injury. Louis’ 2012 season ended with a torn left ACL against the Minnesota Vikings on a hit by Jared Allen.
The Bears found Louis at the end of the 2009 draft and he stuck on the roster with strong performances late in preseason. He started the first four games at guard in 2010 but eventually lost his job as the Bears shuffled Roberto Garza to right guard and Chris Williams to left.
Louis solidified himself in 2011 when he went from right guard to right tackle when Frank Omiyale proved inadequate in place of Carimi.