Chicago Bears Rookie Grades (Part 1)
3rd Round: C Hroniss Grasu
Grasu was my favorite center in the 2015 draft and even more so after I interviewed Kyle Long and he named Grasu as the most underrated NFL prospect on the Ducks. It was almost a consensus among scouts that Grasu was the most technically proficient and athletic center in the draft, but he would need time to bulk up before he could handle NFL-sized defensive tackles. Unfortunately Grasu was forced into the lineup around mid-season when starting center Will Montgomery broke his leg.
Predictably Grasu struggled against stronger DTs, getting driven into the backfield often during his first few NFL starts. It cost the Bears some yardage, points, and had a significant negative impact on the Bears rushing game for most of the season. Grasu did show flashes of potential in his pass protection and ability to get to the second level as a run blocker, but for most of the season was unable to move DTs off the line of scrimmage as a run blocker.
Overall Grasu was a sub-par center for the Bears during most of his rookie season, but there were enough signs of potential that I have hope for Grasu’s future as the Bears starting center. One reason for my optimism was how Grasu reacted to probably his worst play of a disappointing rookie season.
Early in the Bears eventual win over the Chiefs, Grasu was overpowered by an interior blitz, Cutler was sacked for a safety by Grasu’s man, then fumbled which resulted in a Chiefs TD. It was the low point in a year with plenty of them, but Grasu didn’t give up. His play improved throughout the game and he made a few key blocks during Jay Cutler’s game winning drive.
Grasu showed impressive fortitude bouncing back from a high-profile mistake and was praised after the game by his teammates and coaching staff for having the resiliency to learn from his mistake and get better. He had some struggles the rest of the season, Grasu just isn’t strong enough to deal with elite NFL DTs right now, but his play improved steadily throughout the year. An off-season in the weight room could jump Grasu’s grade up a letter or two next year.