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10 Most Important Bears of 2016: #10 Will Hroniss Grasu be the starting center?

For the 8th straight year, I'm bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. Kicking off my list is the player in the middle of the Bears' offensive line, whoever that may be...

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I think the Chicago Bears would really like second year pro Hroniss Grasu to take control of the center position and never look back. If we remember, the plan was for him to take a kind of 'red-shirt' season as a rookie, work on his strength and be ready to compete for the starting job in year two.

Injuries forced the Bears' hand last year and Grasu was needed, so his very specific work-out program was altered as he became an active member of the game day roster. This offseason was spent adding some strength to his sub 300 pound frame and reports have him up to 313 pounds.

Hopefully his added bulk and knowledge of the playbook will be exactly what he needs to be the man in the middle for not only 2016, but the next seven or eight years. His comfort level in Chicago's offense will allow the already athletic Grasu to play even faster this year. His added bulk will allow him to hold the point of attack for just a tick longer against some of mammoth defensive tackles that he'll face. And his knowledge and confidence as a 2nd year player should allow him to take the reigns as the director of the offensive line and make all the line calls.

My 10th most important Bear for 2016 is center Hroniss Grasu. But, if for some reason Grasu can't wrangle control of the starting gig, then I'll reserve the right to alter my #10 to whomever the starting center ends up being.

If it isn't Grasu manning the center spot, it'll probably be veteran Ted Larsen. A longer shot at center is rookie Cody Whitehair, but I have a feeling Whitehair ends up starting at left guard with Grasu at center. Larsen has missed some time this offseason, which has given the projected starting five of Bobbie Massie (RT), Kyle Long (RG), Grasu (C), Whitehair (LG) and Charles Leno Jr. (LT) some valuable bonding time.

I wasn't as down on Grasu last season as some, so I'm expecting him to really blossom into a quality center in year two.

What are your thoughts on him this year?