After multiple trades down to open the second round frenzy on Friday night, the Bears finally stayed put with the selection of Kansas State OL Cody Whitehair at No. 56. Whitehair is a versatile interior lineman that gives the Bears plenty of power up front.
Originally, the Bears traded the No. 41st overall pick to Buffalo in exchange for No. 117 overall this year and a 2017 fourth rounder. Then, they sent the No. 49th pick to Seattle for No. 56 and the No. 124 overall pick this year. Confusing I know, but the best teams build through the draft and Chicago is doing that.
All in all, the Bears went from one fourth round pick to three with none representing their original spot at No. 106 with Tampa acquiring it on Thursday.
The second pick of the Bears’ 2016 NFL Draft class may look strange at first glance especially considering they traded down twice. But Whitehair is a guy who can play all five spots on the offensive line. He started 51 of 52 games, including the final 41 games for the Wildcats.
Whitehair made all 26 starts at left tackle over his senior and junior years. Prior to that, he started 13 games at left guard as a sophomore. As a freshman, he made nine starts at left guard, two at right guard and one at right tackle.
At 6’4″, 301 lbs, he has experience and power as a run blocker. This pick is all about best player available. The Bears add competition with his selection as well. The offensive line was thin in 2015, it won’t be this year.
Along with free agent additions this off-season, Manny Ramirez and Ted Larsen, Whitehair is the latest versatile offensive lineman brought in by general manager Ryan Pace.
Ideally, Whitehair would be a fit at either left guard or center. Even though he never made a start in college at center, he projects well at that spot and could easily be the next best thing on the line outside of three-time Pro Bowler Kyle Long.
#Bears 2nd round pick Cody Whitehair says his best fit is probably at guard, but he’ll play wherever.
— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) April 30, 2016
Veteran guard Matt Slauson could be on his way out, but that remains to be seen. The 30-year-old is under contract for the next two seasons at just under $3 million per year. Perhaps the Bears will move Slauson to center, a position he thrived playing last season in four starts.
I can’t say that I love this pick, but clearly Pace didn’t value any particular guy in Round 2 highly, hence the two trades down. Whitehair is a steal in the second round, but the Bears don’t necessarily need help at the position. We’ll see how this situation pans out.
The offensive line is stronger, but who will be the starters at left guard and center after this selection? Offensive line coach Dave Magazu will have to sort it all out.
In case you missed it: My breakdown of the Leonard Floyd pick from the first round.
Thoughts on the selection of Cody Whitehair at No. 56 for the Bears?
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