Hroniss Grasu Days Until Chicago Bears Season Opener
As the hot summer days slip away one by one, Bear Goggles On is marking the passage of time with a preview of the 2015 roster (and a look at some all-time Bear greats) along the way. The excitement for the new season is growing with only nine days until players will be reporting to training camp, and 55 days until the week one matchup against the Packers. With that in mind, today we’re taking a look at #55 for the Bears, Hroniss Grasu.
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With the 71st pick of the 2015 NFL Draft this past spring, Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears selected their hopeful center of the future. Grasu, a 4-year starter with the Oregon Ducks, comes to the Bears as a decorated college o-lineman. An All-American selection in 2013 and 2014, Grasu was also a finalist in both years for the Rimington Award which is given to the nation’s best center.
Grasu’s leadership and intangibles were the primary driving forces behind him being drafted by Chicago and GM Ryan Pace has gushed about Grasu’s character when speaking about him.
While he might not be a thoroughbred all-world prospect, Grasu’s floor as an NFL player is high. He has the characteristics to succeed and it would be a surprise if he doesn’t develop into a solid, if not very good starting NFL center.
January 1, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Hroniss Grasu (55) against the Florida State Seminoles in the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
What to Expect From Hroniss Grasu in 2015:
Grasu is unquestionably the plan to anchor the offensive line for years to come, but what remains to be seen is whether or not that plan will kick into action this year. One of the free agent acquisitions the Bears made this off-season was Will Montgomery, a journeyman offensive lineman who has played plenty of center in recent years.
In 2014 Montgomery was a Denver Bronco where he started eight games for John Fox, a fact that made him the early guess to start at the position for the Bears in 2015.
As a player who has had several stops in his NFL career, however, Montgomery is well aware that the franchise is invested in Grasu and wants to see him on the field sooner rather than later. To Montgomery this means that doing his job well might mean a demotion, because one of his main responsibilities will be mentoring the rookie center. Chicago Football’s Arthur Arkush touches on this dynamic in a recent piece.
Due to issues of player health and availability the Bears have been juggling the offensive line somewhat this spring, including bouncing Pro Bowl RG Kyle Long out to RT at times. What does this mean for Grasu?
In one scenario explored here at BGO, Long’s potential move to tackle could be the domino that puts Grasu at starting center and Montgomery at right guard. Montgomery came into the league as a guard and theoretically could mentor the young Grasu by lining up next to him. Until Long is actually moved to tackle, however, it’s just speculation.
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Injury is an ever-present possibility in the NFL as well, and you never know when players might get hurt. Montgomery has managed to avoid the big injury throughout his career, however, and obviously for his sake we hope that continues.
If Grasu wants to be snapping the ball to Jay Cutler on that first offensive series of the year, he might just have to win the position battle straight up.
For what it’s worth, I’m pulling for the rookie. That isn’t a knock on Montgomery and if he asserts himself in training camp and preseason as the best option for this offense in 2015, then so be it and congratulations to Montgomery.
It’s hard not to look to the future, however, and with any luck Grasu will be a Bear mainstay for the next 10+ years. No better time than the present to get started on that future.
Next: 10 Most Important Bears Players for 2015