The interior offensive line is a top need of the Bears going into the 2018 NFL Draft. With that in mind, they will host Iowa’s stalwart center in James Daniels on Tuesday, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
At 6-foot-3 and 295 pounds, the swift Daniels is considered one of the best interior offensive linemen in this class. A fluid and tremendous athlete, Daniels would be an ideal fit in Chicago’s zone blocking scheme under Matt Nagy. Given the “interior offensive line” label, he would also push over the versatile Cody Whitehair to guard: a debate that the Bears have surely had over and over this off-season.
Think second to early third rounder in terms of projection with Daniels, who isn’t likened to slip any further than that. With an injury to Ohio State’s Billy Price, he’s likely to be the first center off the draft board. For the Bears, who want to fortify one of the most important pieces of their offensive front long term, the move would make sense.
It must be noted that the raw Daniels was only a two-year starter for the Hawkeyes, which might be the reason why his draft stock isn’t premier. Some of his development, such as learning how to drive block and be counted on more in pass protection, are a natural step that the Bears are prepared for with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.
The draft is a little over a week away and the Bears have gone into one last phase of research overdrive for their greatest positions of need. Daniels is but one concluding piece of a strong push for a hectic weekend in Arlington, Texas.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and is a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.