Before the Chicago Bears Finally made Cody Whitehair their second round draft pick this past Friday during the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago Il., he was mocked by most to go in the mid to late first round. The Bears picked him with the 56th pick in the second round after trading down to acquire that pick and swapping with Seattle and acquiring their fourth round pick as well. This after already trading down in the second round With Buffalo for their fourth round pick this year and another fourth round pick in next years draft.
To say it was a great value pick is one thing, but try the best value pick in the entire draft, because that’s exactly what the Bears just might have gotten. Whitehair was the consensus best Guard prospect in the draft despite paying left tackle for the Kansas State wildcats in 2015 and playing it at a very high level. As a matter of fact Pro Football Focus had him playing it at the highest level in the 2015 College football season per their game day grade and metrics analysis.
This excerpt from pro football focus’ Steve Palazzolo; “The Bears get first-round value in our top-graded offensive tackle from 2015. Whitehair projects better at guard in the NFL, as he’s strong in the running game (top grade among offensive tackles) and capable in pass protection. It’s not flashy, but this is one of the best picks in the draft.”
I think this clearly proves Pace is legitimately going to draft the best player available as guard was not even close to a team need. As a matter of fact it may have been the furthest need the team had especially after signing two veteran guards in Manny Ramirez, and Ted Larsen during the veteran free agency period. This tells me and should be clear to everyone that the Bears have finally got themselves someone who knows how to work the college football draft.
Whitehair will pretty much be one of the starting five in my opinion which kind of throws a monkey wrench in what most people thought was the plan with this offensive line. It’s doubtful Whitehair is going to compete for the left tackle spot where Charles Leno jr. is and with whom the Bears apparently have a genuine love for, and think can grow into the franchises left tackle for the next 5 years or so.
It’s doubtful they sit a highly productive versatile and well paid veteran player like Matt Slauson. It’s equally doubtful they trade him for anything of any significant value and even more doubtful Slauson gets cut.
Kyle Long and Bobbie Massie are pretty much cemented on the right side. You don’t sign Massie to a big contract to be a swing tackle and Long has been emphatic about his desire to go back to right guard, and pretty much confirmed that’s where the Bears have placed him on the depth chart. Doesn’t mean it can’t change. Long may very well move to left tackle where most people believes it’s where he should have been from the start. However only should Leno fail as Chicago seems committed to Leno barring this total collapse at the position.
I think the most logical conclusion is either he plays left guard a position perfect for him, or he starts at center where he has played before. As a matter of fact he’s maned every position along the offensive line at Kansas Sate. Another reason his value is so large. I feel it’s more likely Slauson takes over center as he did after Grasu was injured and did very well there. Slauson is a very intelligent football payer with natural leadership qualities which makes him a perfect candidate to be the quarterback of that line.
It appears the Bears are not confident that Grasu is ready at the moment, or possibly ever will be ready to play center in the national football league. With Bears finally having a professional coaching staff in place worth their salt led by no nonsense head coach John Fox they are not going to hold any hands nor give anyone anything they have not deserved, and that includes a starting center job with the Chicago Bears.
Grasu being a 25 year old second year player doesn’t help his cause. By now he should be completely developed and entering his prime making a push for his second contract. Bears are clearly not waiting for anyone. If you are not ready to answer the call you will be replaced. So Grasu better hope he put in the work or he will be out of work.