Bears Draft: Day Two

Bears Draft: Day Two

Day two of the 2016 NFL draft is in the books and Bears fans may remember it as the day general manger Ryan Pace earned the nickname, Trader Pace. Just as millions were on the edge of their seats to see who Pace would add with the 10th pick of the second round, we learned Pace had traded down with the Buffalo Bills for the 49th overall and 117th pick –  a 4th rounder.

Then as that 49th pick came around, we learned Pace had traded down again, this time with the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for the 56th pick and another fourth round pick.

When Pace finally made his pick it was Cody Whitehair the 6-4, 301 pound offensive lineman from Kansas State. Whitehair played up and down the offensive line, including left tackle (two years). Most scouts have him pegged as a guard, and several prominent evaluators had him ranked as the top guard in the entire draft. Whitehair told that his versatility was something that interested several teams in him.

Ryan Pace spoke with the media late Friday night and said Whitehair could play center, which means Matt Slauson, Whitehair and last year’s third-round draft pick are all viable candidates for starting center.

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Grasu had a disappointing rookie year and was obviously not physically ready for NFL action. There had been speculation that the Bears might shop Slauson to teams search for a veteran guard. Could Slauson be traded on Saturday? When asked if Slauson was coming to camp Pace said, “We haven’t even gotten to that yet. We’re just adding talent & we’ll let it all sort out.” Later, Pace said the team is still looking to add draft picks – especially for next year.

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Whether Slauson remains with the team or not, the Whitehair selection now makes the battle for offensive line starting jobs one of the most intriguing storylines of training camp. Remember, the Bears added right tackle Bobby Massie and guard Ted Larson to the team via free agency. Massie looks like a lock at right tackle. Long could conceivably play left tackle and not right guard which is what everyone – including Long – believed would happen when Massie signed. Charles Leno, Jr. is the incumbent LT.

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At the Combine, Whitehair spoke with the media about his versatility, the challenge of adapting to NFL speed and the importance of getting his hands on defenders.

Our Bears Barroom draft analysts were divided on the Whitehair selection. Shayne Marsaw  loves what adding another offensive lineman does for the team:

I think Whitehair gives the Bears a ton of options along the OL. Does he play OG and Slauson takes over at C while Grasu develops? Does Whitehair battle Leno at LT? If you’ve listened to our podcasts, you’ve heard all of us say “competition breeds success” The Bears are flush with it in their OL now. May the best man win.

Jose Cotto likes the idea of competition, but doesn’t foresee Whitehair offering enough of it:

I just don’t see it with Whitehair. I do not see a player who has the strength and mindset to move interior defensive linemen in the NFL. Most assume he translates inside because he’s a solid (not great, as advertised) run blocker with poor feet at tackle but I just don’t think it’s cut and dry with him. He was overdrafted and will be average at best in my opinion.

At the Combime, Whitehair did only 16 bench-press repetitions of 225 pounds. He claims he simply had a bad day and, “…also I’m more of a field-strong kind of guy. I’ll just continue to work on that.”

On the opposite end of the likability scale, Cotto loves the Bears third round pick, Jonathan Bullard. Cotto wrote this about the defender when he listed him No. 6 on his personal Big Board:

Holds the point with strength and aggressiveness. He’s scheme versatile and plays with high effort. I believe he can play anywhere on the defensive line in a 4-3 and would make an excellent 5 tech in a 3-4 base and provide interior pass rush in sub packages. He’s a force against the run and an excellent pass rusher. I would compare him to a young Justin Smith.

Marsaw wasn’t hiding his happiness either when he said this last night:

Dream scenarios for the Bears (and Jose Cotto). Pace continues to collect defensive linemen as he revamps the burgeoning Bears defense. Out of Florida, Bullard registered the most tackles for loss since former Gator and Chicago Bear Alex Brown. So, picture Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Jonathan Bullard and Ego Ferguson on the line. A lot to like moving forward.

Pace wasn’t hiding his glee about Bullard being a Bear either. He spoke about how college scouting director Joe Douglas raved about Bullard’s first step and his “get off.” Bullard’s highlight reel showcases that “get off.” (Lyrics are NSFW)

The Bears GM said Bullard had his best season when he gained weight and played the 3-technique. Does this mean the Bears will search for a 5-tech defensive end on the final day of the draft?

We’ll leave you with a little insight into who Jonathan Bullard is






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Aldo Gandia

Aldo Gandia

Among my career highlights I have produced two films while in high school that received nationwide attention; leaned out of a helicopter over the Gulf of Suez at the age of 20 to shoot movies of oil rigs; won an Emmy award for a sports special and another for a kid's fitness show; and led a team of very talented creative professionals to produce break-through corporate communications.

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