Chicago Bears have a position battle that needs to happen

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears return to Halas Hall on Monday morning after a trip to Denver where they competed in joint practices and a pre-season game that brought us numerous storylines.

Other than the injury of Leonard Floyd, the most prominent Chicago Bears news was the apparent snapping struggles of starting center Cody Whitehair.

While the pre-season is the time to get these “yips” out of your system, and usually aren’t of any concern, it’s interesting to note that the Chicago Bears have moved rookie second-round pick James Daniels into the second-team center role in the past few weeks. It was a noteworthy move after Daniels was drafted to play guard according to GM Ryan Pace after the draft in April.

Initially, the move came after backup center Hroniss Grasu was set to be sidelined for some time, but it’s possible that the Bears could be preparing Daniels for a role they didn’t initially intend on. Daniels, who started at center for the University of Iowa for the past two seasons, is a versatile player that has elite athleticism for an offensive lineman.

Although Daniels has experience playing multiple positions, most scouts pre-draft were poised to believe he could be an impact center right away.

"“The Iowa guys are always going to be quick and proficient, but you have to see them tested against power because they are usually going to be a little smaller, too. This guy has decent size and I think he’s got pretty good functional power. He would come in and challenge for best center in our division right away.” — NFC team college scouting director told"

This brings us to why the Bears have such a love for Whitehair at the center position. He was drafted out of Kansas State by the Chicago Bears in the second-round of the 2016 draft as a guard. Whitehair was poised to take the starting position until veteran guard Josh Sitton was waived by Green Bay and then picked up by Chicago. The Bears wanted to keep Whitehair in the starting group, so they began to make the transition to center in his rookie season. Despite the up-and-downs last season, Whitehair had a phenomenal rookie year and was named to the NFL All-Rookie team.

When the Bears placed Whitehair at center in 2016 it’s hard to believe that they intended to keep him there forever. Now that the Bears have a more-than-capable center on the roster, it’s hard to imagine why they wouldn’t play these two second-round picks at their preferred positions.

Part of the reason may be because of the friendship and chemistry that quarterback Mitch Trubisky and Whitehair have developed since last season. It’s easy to understand wanting to keep your franchise quarterback happy and comfortable, but sometimes change is necessary to get the most out of the talent on the roster.

If they were going to make the move, the time would’ve been during the OTA period, so both players could get acclimated in their roles moving forward. It should be noted that the center is the quarterback of the offensive line, and requires them to know all the different assignments amongst the group. There is no question that both players could succeed in both positions, but a telling sign will be where they start in their fourth preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs next Saturday, August 25th.