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Chalk Talk

If Long moves, who starts at guard?

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Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

If the Bears decide to keep Kyle Long at right tackle, who will compete for the right guard position?

Big D
Westside Chicago

First of all, that's a big "if." Yes, the Bears worked Kyle Long at right tackle late in their offseason program, but they move their offensive linemen around in practice all the time because they want to be prepared to deal with injuries in games. NFL teams typically dress only seven offensive linemen on game day and could be forced to play someone at an unfamiliar position if they lose a couple starters. It happened in 2012 when both Bears starting guards, Lance Louis and Chris Spencer, were injured in a game against the Vikings and tackle Gabe Carimi was forced to play guard for the first time in his career. Getting back to Long, if the Bears ultimately do decide he should start at tackle, I imagine that Vladimir Ducasse and Ryan Groy will be among those competing for the right guard position. Ducasse is a sixth-year pro who started a career-high six games with the Vikings last season, while Groy is a promising second-year pro who started the final three games at left guard with the Bears last year.

What do you consider to be a successful draft? When 70 percent of the draftees make the squad? Or maybe 80 percent? How have the Bears done recently?

Richard R.
Charleston, South Carolina

The percentage of draft picks who earn roster spots really isn't a significant gauge to me because sometimes that says more about the players those rookies beat out. I'd consider a draft a successful one if it produces at least three above-average regular starters, including one who consistently performs at a Pro Bowl level. I think both the 2014 and 2015 drafts have the potential to be successful ones based on my criteria, especially the latest one with first-round receiver Kevin White, second-round defensive tackle Eddie Goldman and third-round center Hroniss Grasu.

I remember watching Roland Harper and Matt Suhey play fullback alongside Walter Payton. Which one of them was a more productive player with the Bears?

Phil B.
Waukesha, Wisconsin

Roland Harper and Matt Suhey were both excellent all-around fullbacks who could block, run with the ball and catch passes. I wouldn't say that one was significantly more productive than the other. Harper appeared in 89 games over seven seasons with the Bears, rushing for 3,044 yards and 15 touchdowns on 757 attempts while also catching 128 passes for 1,013 yards and 3 TDs. Harper's best season was in 1978 when he rushed for 992 yards. Suhey appeared in 148 games over 10 seasons with the Bears, rushing for 2,946 yards and 20 TDs on 828 attempts while catching 260 passes for 2,113 yards and 5 TDs.

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