Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
TE Niles Paul (26), Redskins – The Bears have been looking for an H-back TE the last few seasons and Paul is the best one available that might be in the Bears price range. Paul had over 60 receiving yards in each of the first four games this season while starting TE Jordan Reed was hurt, but his playing time and production tailed off as the season went on. He’s small for a TE (6’1, 241) but has great speed (4.51), reliable hands and is a better blocker than expected for his size. The Bears could bring back Zach Miller as their H-back, but his injury history might force the Bears to look elsewhere.
T Chris Hairston (25), Bills – Massive tackle (6’6, 341) who has experience on both sides of the line. He’s probably better off at RT due to his ability to be a mauling run blocker and below average mobility. Hairston is solid in pass pro as well, but struggles at times with speed rushers and blocking in space. I think he would be an upgrade over Jordan Mills on the right side, but if Mills keeps the job Hairston would give the Bears a solid swing tackle with upside.
G James Carpenter (25), Seahawks – The former 1st round pick has been considered a bust for the most part, but did start 13 games for the Seahawks this season. According to Pro Football Focus, Carpenter had the best season of his young career and still finished as the 41st ranked starting guard (out of 64) with a -6.6 grade. That’s hardly anything to get excited about, but he’s still just 25 years old and has the size (6’4, 321) and athleticism to develop into a starting caliber player. Carpenter played tackle in college so he also provides some versatility and is a surprisingly decent pass blocker (1.4 grade). His struggles should keep the price reasonable and he would be an upgrade for the Bears over backup guard Michael Ola (26) who despite being a rookie this season is a year older than Carpenter.
C Rodney Hudson (25), Chiefs – The former 2nd round pick has been a starter for 2+ years in KC and will probably be looking for a raise from the $1.1M he made in 2014. After a solid 2013 (4.4 grade) Hudson had a breakout season in 2014, finishing with the 3rd highest grade at the center position from PFF (13.0). What makes Hudson unique is that he’s equally good against the run or the pass. He isn’t a road-grading run blocker, but he’s solid and helped the Chiefs to the 10th most rushing yards in 2014 while only giving up 2 sacks and 7 QB hurries. He also only had 1 accepted penalty called against him all season. The center position is underrated; it’s no coincidence that the three NFL teams with the most rushing yards this year (SEA, DAL, NYJ) had the 4th, 2nd, and 1st rated centers according to PFF.