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Meet the Bears’ Second Round Pick, Offensive Lineman James Daniels

Analysis and Commentary, NFL Draft

With Quenton Nelson off the board early, the Chicago Bears were stuck waiting until the second round to address their offensive line needs. It seems like it might have been worth the wait.

THE PICK (ROUND 2, PICK 39)

  • Name: James Daniels
  • College: Iowa
  • Position: Center/guard
  • Age: 20
  • Height, weight, hand size, arms: 6-foot-3, 306 pounds, 9-1/2 inches, 33-3/4 inches

NEED TO KNOW

  • 2017 accomplishments: Academic All-Big Ten, Honorable mention All-Big Ten (coaches and media), Preseason third-team All-America (Athlon Sports), Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy preseason watch list.
  • Career accomplishments: First-team sophomore All-America (Campus Insiders), Second-team All-Big Ten (Athlon Sports), third-team All-Big Ten (coaches and media), Started 23 of 26 possible games the last two seasons.

HIGHLIGHTS

 

NFL COMBINE RESULTS

  • Bench press: 21
  • Vertical : 30.5 inches
  • Broad jump: 108 inches
  • 3-cone drill: 7.29 seconds
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.4 seconds

THREE STRENGTHS

  • Versatility comes to mind when dissecting where Daniels excels. His versatility is a main strength and it’s something he showed while at Iowa, where he started at guard before moving to center. Daniels was a strong run blocker who also owned good footwork and technique in pass protection.
  • Athleticism. Daniels moves well with noticeable body control. Guys with his size shouldn’t move that well, but Daniels does … and I’m here for it.
  • Superb footwork. It’s impressive, just check it out:

THREE WEAKNESSES

  • Daniels can be overpowered by bull rushers from time to time at the point of attack. How he goes about making necessary changes to combat that shortcoming will be up to new position coach Harry Hiestand.
  • Could stand to add strength. Daniels did just 21 bench press reps, which was 16 fewer than Combine leader Will Hernandez from UTEP.
  • Knee injuries limited Daniels in college, so that’s something that needs to be considered as he goes into the pros.

NFL.COM COMPARISON: Chris Chester.

WHERE DANIELS FITS

The Bears will start Daniels’ professional career at guard, and not at center where he played the last two years at Iowa. Daniels started his college career at guard and has played on both sides of center, so this isn’t completely new to him. Because he possesses the right kind of blocking skills and techniques, his transition to his new (but old) position should be smooth.

Daniels has a reputation for being a quick learner, and I think that could help accelerate his jump into a starting role. He was one of four true freshmen to see significant playing time for Iowa in 2015. Daniels played 14 games in his first year on campus, saw some time at guard and tackle, and was the Hawkeyes’ starting left guard in the 2016 Rose Bowl game against Stanford.

It’s possible that history repeats itself and Daniels ends up as the Bears’ starting left guard in Week 1 against the Packers.

 

PRESS INTRODUCTION


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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.