Conor Boffeli Days Until Chicago Bears Season Opener
Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports
The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series continues with a profile of guard, #76 Conor Boffeli. He used to be #71, which is why we are profiling Boffeli today with just 71 more days until the Chicago Bears open the regular season against the rival Green Bay Packers. Boffeli is now listed on the Bears website as one of two #76’s (Eddie Goldman is the other) despite no one wearing #71.
Boffeli started at left guard for one year at the University of Iowa, which has been an offensive lineman factory for the NFL. He wasn’t a regular starter until his senior year, but had a solid season earning Honorable Mention All-Big 10 and Academic All-Big 10. Boffeli wasn’t drafted, but was signed as a priority free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2014 NFL draft. He was released a week later and signed the same day by the Houston Texans. Boffeli stuck with the Texans all the way to final cuts before being released. The Chicago Bears signed Boffeli to their practice squad a few weeks into the 2014 season where he remained the rest of the year.
The scouting report on Boffeli coming out of Iowa was that he is a cerebral player with good football instincts. He also has solid footwork in pass pro, a good motor, and like most Iowa alumni shows good overall blocking technique. The main knocks on Boffeli are his short arms (32″), lack of bulk (6’4 | 298), and just mediocre athleticism. He struggled with powerful DTs in college, which he will see every snap in the NFL. One thing in Boffeli’s favor is his versatility, he can play either guard spot and fill in at center if needed. If he can bulk up while on the practice squad, Boffeli could develop into a useful reserve on the interior O-line.
What to expect from Boffeli in 2015
Boffeli’s versatility gives him a chance to potentially earn a spot on the Bears final 53-man roster. He didn’t see an NFL snap last season, but with a new coaching staff in town Boffeli is working with a clean slate. His above-average football intelligence could give him an edge on the competition if he can learn the new offensive scheme quickly. The Bears do have two centers projected to make the final 53 (Montgomery, Grasu), which lessens the importance of Boffeli’s versatilty, and fellow 2nd year guard Ryan Groy also has potential to slide over to center. The Bears depth at center and Boffeli’s lack of size, short arms, and underwhelming power will probably relegate him to the practice squad for another year. We could see Boffeli at some point during the season though if the Bears suffer any injuries to interior lineman.
Next: Which Bears Made the 2015 All-NFC North Team?