According to Pro Football Focus, offensive lineman Cody Whitehair is the Chicago Bears most underrated player as they head into the 2020 NFL season. In the four years since he was a second-round pick out of Kansas State, the 27-year old Whitehair hasn’t missed start with 64 straight, mostly at center, but I can understand how they’d peg him as an underrated Bear.
He started the 2019 season at left guard, but was moved back to center midway through the season in part because of his familiarity with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. With newly acquired Nick Foles in line to start at quarterback for the Bears in 2020, this according to most American football odds makers, Whitehair’s comfort level with Mitch may not come into play in regards to him remaining at center.
Whether he ends up back at guard or if he stays at center, I just hope the 2018 Pro Bowler receives plenty of preseason reps at his position to get acclimated to his fellow offensive linemen.
Here’s what PFF had to say about Whitehair.
Part of the reason for Whitehair’s inclusion on this list is that he’s coming off a career-worst overall grade of 64.9 in 2019, but he started the season at left guard rather than his usual center position. That has led to some question about where he fits on this line and what he’ll look like moving forward.
When looking at just snaps played at center since 2016, Whitehair’s PFF grade of 79.8 ranks eighth — a top-shelf option who excels in the run game. That grade dips to 68.1 across either guard spot on nearly 800 career NFL snaps. If Whitehair remains at center, where he played the final eight weeks of the 2019 season, we should expect improved play again next season.
What are your thoughts on Whitehair being “underrated,” and what position do you think he starts and ends up with in 2020 now that Juan Castillo is coaching the position.