Coming into the 2017 season, the Chicago Bears’ tackles were generally considered the weak link on what was an otherwise top-tier offensive line. And right tackle Bobby Massie was arguably the most criticized Bears lineman, but perhaps things weren’t as bad as we thought.
As part of a series ranking the league’s best players, Bleacher Report’s NFL1000 scouting team ranking Massie surprisingly high among the NFL’s right tackles. Indeed, among the 49 eligible players, Massie checked in as the 14th best at his position. That puts him in the top half of his position group, which is a damn fine place to be all things equal.
BR’s scouting report saw Massie bounce back from a rough early season stretch (littered with inconsistencies) and settle in after Week 5. The site’s scouts laud his punishing style, range in pass protection, and physicality in the running game. When everything is click, the BR scouts believe Massie “looks like one of the NFL’s top right tackles at times.”
That’s high praise for a much-maligned lineman.
Massie’s blocking in the run game looked to be improved early in the season, too. His space-clearing blocks (yes, blocks plural) helped rookie Tarik Cohen break off a big run in the season-opener against the Falcons. And it’s not as though there isn’t talent and upside within Massie’s 6-6, 317-pound frame, it’s just that we haven’t seen it consistently just yet. Maybe that will change under the watchful eye of new Offensive Line Coach Harry Hiestand, who’s proven capable of getting the most out of his players at both the college and pro level.
And if you reacall, it wasn’t too long ago when Massie’s star was believed to be on the rise. In 2013, Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinness tabbed Massie as the Arizona Cardinals’ secret superstar and a breakout candidate to be one of the league’s top right tackles. Five years later, Massie is still the inconsistent player he was in Arizona. But if the Bears pass on a chance to choose a tackle early in the 2018 NFL Draft, Massie could be in a position to show Chicago’s new coaching staff what he can do in a make-or-break contract year.