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Chicago Bears 2018 Roster Turnover: Is Cody Whitehair still a center?

In this 13 part series we’ll take an in depth look at each position group for the Chicago Bears with an eye towards the 2018 season. We’ll speculate on who stays, who goes, and some potential additions we’d like to see general manager Ryan Pace make.

NFL: DEC 16 Bears at Lions Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cody Whitehair - Signed through 2019 - Last year the Chicago Bears played Whitehair at center, left guard and right guard, and that was just in one game. This moving your offensive linemen around business that John Fox and staff liked to do is dumb. I understand injuries happen, but I believe that Whitehair’s inability to focus on center in training camp led to his slow start. He struggled in what should have been a year of ascension for him.

The new coaching regime has a decision to make in the next few months; keep Whitehair at center, or move him to guard. According to the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, “There’s an internal debate over whether Cody Whitehair is better at center or guard.”

Personally, I think he should stay at center. He has the right make up for the position. Keep him there, let him grown, and he’ll be a Pro Bowl caliber player.

Hroniss Grasu - Signed through 2018 - All the promise Grasu showed as a rookie in 2015 went away after his season ending knee injury before the 2016 season. After his rookie year he needed to work on his core strength, and lower body strength so he could anchor against the bigger defensive linemen he’d be facing. In fact, the plan was to never play him as a rookie, while he worked on adding strength that season. Injuries forced him into action and he struggled. His technique flashed, but his deficiencies were on display.

We may never know if that ACL injury stunted his ability to get stronger, but we do know that the same problems that plagued him in 2015 showed up in 2017. If he’s still just a backup center, I don’t see a point in keeping him on the roster.

Travis Averill - Signed through 2018 - The Bears list Averill at center, although he played guard in college at Boise State. My guess is he’s a guy that is trying to do both at this level to make himself more valuable. He was an undrafted free agent by the Falcons in 2017, and he was also with the Browns for a bit before being added to the Bears practice squad in November.

2018 OUTLOOK - A decision on guard Josh Sitton’s contract could affect what the Bears do with Whitehair. As could the recovery of guard Eric Kush, and the development of second year guard Jordan Morgan. There are a lot of moving parts on the Bears’ offensive line, but it’s in their best interest to make a decision on Whitehair’s position as soon as possible.

If Kush is healthy, he’s capable of backing up both guard and center making Grasu expendable. His cap hit isn’t very high however, so bringing Grasu into camp and letting him compete is the smart thing to do.

Chiefs’ free agent Zach Fulton, whom Andrew broke down right here, can play center and guard and he has 46 starts in his four year career. If head coach Matt Nagy is looking for a few of his guys to bring to Chicago, Fulton would be a good addition.

I’ll get more into the interior of the line tomorrow when I go over the guards on the Bears.

In the meantime, where would you like to see Whitehair play in 2018?


Where should the Bears play Cody Whitehair?

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