Bears Depth Chart: Center

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Position Battles (Starters):

The Chicago Bears used an early third round pick on center Hroniss Grasu from Oregon in the 2015 draft. A pick that high was expected to come in and at least compete for a starting job right away, but Grasu clearly wasn’t physically ready for the job. His intelligence, quick feet, and knack for gaining leverage were apparent, but what he lacked was the strength to handle NFL-sized defensive tackles. Nowhere was that more evident than on a play versus the Chiefs, with the Bears buried inside the five-yard line, Grasu was overpowered by Chiefs DT Jaye Howard who ran over Grasu, sacked Cutler, and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Chiefs in the end zone.

To Grasu’s credit, his teammates noted his play improving steadily from that point on. He didn’t quit, didn’t let one really bad play get to him, and by the end of the game was playing very well. That could have been the turning point in Grasu’s career, but he suffered an injury the next week and missed the next three games sapping any momentum from the Chiefs game.

Grasu split time the rest of the way with Matt Slauson and showed flashes of being the player the Bears thought they drafted, but was not consistent enough for the Bears to be sure of his role in 2016. Which is why the Bears signed veteran center Manny Ramirez from Denver, only to see him retire a few months later.

That pretty much leaves the job in Grasu’s hands for the 2016 season, as Ted Larsen is at best an average backup and young players Cornelius Edison and Donovan Williams have no NFL experience. Hopefully Grasu put a ton of time in the weight room this offseason and has the strength to handle the position, since the other options aren’t promising.

Next: Positon Battles (Back-ups)