LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- A few quick thoughts on the Chicago Bears' third-round draft pick.
The pick: Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon
My take: Projected starting center Will Montgomery is 32 years old, so Grasu figures to have a legitimate shot to eventually win the job. He started all 52 games at Oregon, where he lined up next to two-time Bears Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long in 2012. He's not a glamorous pick but Chicago depended so long on veteran center Roberto Garza (released in the offseason) the organization failed to stockpile young talent in the middle of the offensive line. Grasu is a three-time Pac-12 first-team selection who played at one of the nation’s top programs. He suffered an ankle injury late in 2014 but eased scouts concerns at his Pro Day. Health does not seem to be an issue, or at least it wasn’t for the Bears. One question is whether Grasu offered the Bears more value at No. 71 than some of the quarterbacks (Bryce Petty, Garrett Grayson or Brett Hundley) that were available at the time. Perhaps the Bears target a quarterback on the final day of the draft, although it’s far from a guarantee.
Uncharted territory: The last center drafted by the Bears is Olin Kreutz in 1998. Kreutz went on to play in Chicago from 1998-2010 and made six Pro Bowls. If Grasu accomplishes half as much as Kreutz did in the NFL, the good people of Lake Forest, Illinois, should erect a statue of general manager Ryan Pace in the downtown area.
Offensive punch: The selection of Kevin White (No.7) and Grasu (No. 71) marks the first time the Bears have used at least two of their three first picks on the offensive side of the ball since 2008. That year former general manager Jerry Angelo selected left tackle Chris Williams, running back Matt Forte and wide receiver Earl Bennett with his opening three picks. The Bears could look to bolster the defense on day three of the draft. As it stands, Chicago holds choices 106 (fourth round), 142 (fifth round) and 183 (sixth round) Saturday.