The interior of the Chicago Bears’ offensive line was supposed to be a strength in 2017, but an injury riddled season has led to an offseason that will bring change to the group. And while much of the focus has been on finding a plug-and-play guard to replace Josh Sitton, the Bears might shore up the middle of the line by adding a center.
With that being a distinct possibility, it’s worth noting that NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport tweets that Iowa center James Daniels is scheduled to visit the Bears today. Hello.
Daniels is considered to be one of the top center prospects in this draft, and could probably make a case to be ranked No. 1. He played every game as a true freshman for the Hawkeyes in 2015, which included a pair of starts at left guard. Daniels transitioned to center as a sophomore and earned third-team All-Big Ten in 2016, then followed it up with honorable mention honors as a junior in 2017
Should the Bears find a way to draft Daniels, his versatility and experience at guard could ultimately lead to Cody Whitehair staying at center.
Daniels is expected to be a Day 2 pick, and the Bears could be sitting with the 39th pick and waiting for him to fall to them if the team doesn’t draft a lineman in the first round. However, Daniels could sneak into the back end of the first round, which would take that possibility off the board.
Checking in at 6-3 and 295 pounds, Daniels is a strong run blocker who has shown good enough footwork to also excel in pass protection. And because he played in Iowa’s pro style offense, it’s likely he is the type of draft prospect who could get up to speed quickly and start right away.