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  1. #1
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    Chicago Bears 2013 Roster Turnover: Center

    I'll break down the Chicago Bears offensive line by position, and since the official Bears roster doesn't list anyone as just a center, I'll include the starter and his primary back up in this article.

    Roberto Garza - Signed through 2013 - I think Garza is a serviceable player at this point in his career, but the Bears should look to upgrade. He'll be 34 in a couple months, and he just finished his 12th season in the NFL, a season in which he took every offensive snap.

    Just as I speculated last year, if they find a suitable replacement this off season, I can see Garza being released. His cap number isn't that astronomical at nearly $3 million, but if he's not starting, that's a hefty hit for a back up. Garza does have some value because he can play all three interior positions, but with a new regime in place, his spot isn't guaranteed.

    Pro Football Focus graded 20 centers that took at least three fourths of their teams snaps last season, and Garza was 17th with a -5.6. In my final Sackwatch tally I had Garza giving up two sacks, and PFF had him allowing five. He actually graded out positively in pass blocking and in screen blocking, but as a run blocker he had a -8.2. With so many double teams being executed by the interior of the offensive line, it's fair to think that with better guard play Garza would have graded out better, but the tape also shows plenty of times Garza was beaten by his man.

    Edwin Williams - Signed though 2013 - Williams has never had extended time at center in the NFL, but you see WCG readers pining for him every year as the center of the future. I could understand if his limited snaps at guard were overwhelmingly good, but they haven't been. He's had some good games playing guard, but nothing that tells me he would be a slam dunk at center.

    Even though Williams didn't take a snap at center in 2012, he is #2 on the depth chart, so I'll spotlight his PFF grade while playing guard. In 155 snaps, spanning between weeks 12-15, Williams graded out with a -2.9. His previous two years playing guard were graded out much better, a +3.2 in 2011, and a +5.3 in 2010. He has had some stand out performances in his three years as a Bear, but he's been inconsistent.

    Basically he's a "guy", but I sure would like to see the Bears bring in some other guys to compete for the interior positions in Chicago.

    2013 OUTLOOK - If the NFL draft falls ideally, I think the Bears will be drafting o-line at least twice. One guy to compete at tackle, and one guy to play inside, because they are definitely in need of more talent on the line.. Even though I'd like them to target an upgrade via free agency, I find it unlikely they will. Atlanta center Todd McClure is an unrestricted free agent, as is Denver's Dan Koppen. Both graded out better than Garza, but they are both older players as well. Another option could be the Colts' 26 year old A.Q. Shipley, who graded out at +6.9 in 455 2012 snaps, but he only has five career starts.

    If they do go with a center in the draft, don't expect him to be an early choice. Most teams place low value on the G/C type players unless scouts label him a sure fire stud. If they do decide to go center, two of the better prospects that are both getting a 2nd round grade from NFL Draft Scout, are Alabama's Barrett Jones and Wisconsin's Travis Frederick.
    http://www.windycitygridiron.com/201...urnover-center

  2. #2
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    I would gladly take Barrett Jones in the 2nd!

  3. #3
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    Everyone here would. That's not going to happen, though. I think he's pretty much locked himself into a top 40 pick.


  4. #4
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    I'd move up in the 2nd if he's still there at 40.

  5. #5
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    No a whole lot of better options than Garza. Outside of Jones, who I think is value in the 2nd but a reach in the first, not a whole lot of early draft prospects.

    Garza is for sure on the decline, but I'll take 1 more year with improved players around him. Draft a guy in the 4th or 5th and groom him.

    Overall, I think we have bigger problems to address. Garza is also the leader of the line and makes the line calls.

  6. #6
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    I would take Jones with our 1st round pick and not think twice. 3x national title winner at 3 different positions and dominated at each spot. Super smart guy, already working on his masters degree, competitor by all accounts, played against the highest level of competition available in college, is the most versatile lineman in the draft and displays great fundamentals/technique. He could start for us at any position on our line and be an upgrade. Who cares if some feel it's a "reach" to take a guard or center that early. He's as close to a sure thing as you will find in the bottom third of the draft.
    Last edited by mwoodri; 02-01-2013 at 02:40 PM.
    Props to MJ-Bulls

  7. #7
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    I don't think Barrett Jones is a reach at 20 either. He's a starter from day 1 and gives the Bears plenty of flexibility on their mess of an O-line. I'm ready to move on from Garza anyway...he's been terrible for 2 years now.

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    Yep, I'd take BJ @ 20 too.

  9. #9
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    I'd take a BJ at any age honestly...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BcEuAbRsS View Post
    I'd take a BJ at any age honestly...
    http://www.hiyoooo.com/

  11. #11
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    Still would.

  12. #12
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    I think he'll be a solid player/starter from day one, which is what we need. But at 20 I'd like more of an upside I guess. If I'm drafting a G/C in the first I'm looking for a dominate guy. Holding out 4 Warmack I guess

  13. #13
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    If they do go with a center in the draft, don't expect him to be an early choice. Most teams place low value on the G/C type players unless scouts label him a sure fire stud. If they do decide to go center, two of the better prospects that are both getting a 2nd round grade from NFL Draft Scout, are Alabama's Barrett Jones and Wisconsin's Travis Frederick

    Being able to get Jones in the 2nd round would be huge. We could release Garza and save $3m this year. Although Garza was a captain on our team O line last year, the line was horrible so we wouldn't miss much. The line has to be reconstructed so we should start with a new young Center.

  14. #14
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    Getting a second round grade doesn't mean he's a second round pick. Corey Wootton, before blowing out his knee, was a projected mid-late first round pick.

    Talent is talent, and I'd have no issue taking arguably the most talented OL in the draft at #20.


  15. #15
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    I want Barrett Jones more than any other player that could be had at 20.

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