On the Clock is going to be a new series of articles that examines players that are knocking on the door of being labeled a bust. Basically, these players are on the clock and its time to act because time is running out for them to capitalize on their potential.
Team: Chicago Bears
Position: Offensive Line
Draft History: 2008 NFL Draft, No. 14 overall
Thoughts: The 2008 NFL Draft featured 7 offensive tackles selected in the 1st round with only Jake Long and Ryan Clady going ahead of Chris Williams. The Bears were looking to add Williams to their aging offensive line and hoping he would be their long term answer at left tackle. Williams did not start any games his rookie season and was mainly used on special teams. However, the team still had high hopes that he could develop which led to him getting a starting nod in his 2nd season.
Read the rest of my thoughts after the Jump
Williams started the 2009 season at right tackle because Orlando Pace was signed to man the left side. However, Pace was unable to regain his Pro Bowl from and Williams was moved to the left side. He was able to find success on the left side building momentum towards the end of the season. The 2009 season ended with Williams shutting out sack master Jared Allen and earning high praise.
Last season the Bears felt that Williams was ready to take the next step and become a very good player. However, he struggled to find his grove and eventually missed several games with a hamstring injury. After returning from injury, Williams continued to struggle and was moved inside to guard. He didn't exactly wow anyone at guard while leaving the lasting image of him allowing Albert Haynesworth to drive him into the quarterback and basically registering a sack.
Williams is on the clock because teams don't use the #14 overall pick to select an under performing left guard. He is going to have a hard time regaining his former spot because Chicago brought in another young tackle to fight for the position (Gabe Carimi). In my opinion, Williams could be considered a bust if he doesn't end up regaining one of the tackle positions. The only way he avoids the bust label and doesn't regain a starting tackle position is by developing into a Pro Bowl guard.