Position Battle (53-man Roster):
The Bears don’t have a ton of young depth at center, but they did add an interesting player to the practice squad last season in Cornelius Edison from Portland St. Edison was a DII All-American, and a three-year starter at both guard and tackle. Edison was also awarded the Rimington Trophy as college football’s best FBS center in 2015.
He’s not overpowering off the ball, but at 6’3, 305 pounds, Edison has NFL size. Edison started 35 games in a row and was named All-Big Sky Conference two years in a row. His production was as consistent as any center in the draft, but the leap from the Big Sky to the NFL is a massive one. A year spent bulking up on the Bears practice squad and adjusting to the speed and strength of the NFL game could have prepared Edison enough to push for a spot on the final 53-man roster this year.
Edison will probably have to beat out Ted Larsen, but that might not be as hard as it sounds. Larsen is nearing the end of his career and Edison also has experience at both guard and center, which would give the Bears depth on the interior line and considerably more upside than what Larsen offers.
Edison lacks speed which could make him a bad fit for the Bears new zone-blocking scheme, but Larsen isn’t very quick either and Edison may have more power in the trenches as a run blocker. He also excelled as a shotgun snapper in college, which is an underrated skill.
If Edison can’t make the leap from the practice squad, rookie Donovan Williams from Louisiana-Lafayette is another potential option. Williams has similar size (6’2, 318) but better movement skills than Edison (5.12 40-time) which could give him a slight edge. He doesn’t have a year of experience on the practice squad though, so it may take Williams considerably more time to adjust to the NFL game. Williams is the better athlete, but Edison is a better technician with more polish directing an offense from the center position and as a shotgun snapper.
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