Bears Draft Preview: G/C (Rounds 1-3)

The Chicago Bears are in desperate need of a young center, while the club may shift Kyle Long from guard to tackle. Here is our Bears-focused analysis of the top centers and guards in the 2015 NFL Draft.

The Chicago Bears have one center on the current roster: 36-year-old Roberto Garza, whose one-year contract carries no guaranteed money. Obviously, the team must get younger at the position.

The Bears are relatively safe at guard, with two-time Pro Bowler Kyle Long at right guard and a healthy Matt Slauson at left guard. Yet head coach John Fox said recently he’ll consider moving Long to tackle this year. That being a possibility, even with Vladimir Ducasse and Michael Ola on the roster, the club will surely be considering offensive guards in this year’s draft class.

With that in mind, let’s break down the top centers and guards in the 2015 NFL Draft.


Cameron Erving, Florida State (6-5, 313)

Erving played defensive tackle as a freshman at FSU before shifting to left tackle his sophomore and junior campaigns, earning first-team All-ACC honors in 2013. He slid inside to center as a senior, the position at which he’ll have the most success in the NFL.

At the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, Erving demonstrated the strength (30 bench-press reps), explosiveness (9-4 broad jump) and quickness (7.48) that has earned him his spot as the top center in this year’s class.
Projected: Round 1

Hroniss Grasu, Orgeon (6-3, 297)

Grasu is a hard-nosed worker who isn’t overly athletic but always finds a way to get the job done. He has functional strength at the point of attack and is a great help blocker in protection. He comes from a zone-blocking system, so he’s comfortable on the move.

Grasu isn’t overly powerful and struggles to get consistent push at the point of attack. He could stand to add a few pounds but he’s an all-around above-average center who should be able to compete for a starting gig in the NFL right away.
Projected: Round 2

Reese Dismukes, Auburn (6-3, 296)

Dismukes is best described as scrappy, as he doesn’t display many of the physical traits typical for an NFL offensive lineman. His hands (8 ¼ inches) were the smallest at the Senior Bowl and he struggles mightily with bigger nose tackles.

Dismukes was a four-year starter and team leader for Auburn. He moves very well and has good vision at the second level. His experience and high level of effort gives him starter potential at the next level. The Bears met with him at the combine.
Projected: Round 2-3


A.J. Cann, South Carolina (6-3, 313)

Cann was a four-year starter in the SEC (51 starts) and was named a permanent captain his senior year. He has ideal experience, maturity and leadership.

He’s not a road grader but he’s a very powerful blocker who uses leverage to his advantage. He finishes blocks with nastiness. He has good awareness in pass protecton, although he might struggle with quicker defensive tackles. Cann is best suited for a man-to-man system.
Projected: Round 2

Laken Tomlinson, Duke (6-3, 323)

Tomlinson is a phone-booth blocker who excels in one-on-one situations. A four-year starter at right guard, he didn’t allow a single sack the past two seasons. He put on a good showing at the Senior Bowl, shutting down Washington’s Danny Shelton on multiple occasions.

Tomlinson lacks movement, which is a concern. He’s not athletic and struggles at the second level. But as an in-line blocker in a run-heavy man system, he’ll have a lot of value in the NFL.
Projected: Round 2

Tre Jackson, Florida State (6-4, 330)

Jackson has the classic mauler build and possesses a strong, jolting hand punch. A durable player who started 42 games his collegiate career, he can be a focal point in an NFL run game.

Jackson is somewhat deliberate at the second level and lacks good lateral movement. He’s limited but as a wide-bodied run blocker, he can have success in the NFL.
Projected: Round 2-3

Ali Marpet, Hobart (6-4, 307)

Marpet was the surprise of the Senior Bowl: a small-school player who more than held his own against top-tier competition. He then went to the combine and ran the fastest 40 time (4.98) of any offensive lineman, with the second best three-cone (7.33) and short shuttle (4.47).

Despite playing against weaker competition in college, there is no doubt Marpet is an NFL offensive lineman. His extreme athleticism, experience and technique could make him a downright steal if he falls to the third round.
Projected: Round 2-3

Arie Kouandjio, Alabama (6-5, 310)

Kouandjio plays with a strong, wide base and once he locks on, he has the strength to maneuver defenders out of the hole. In small areas, he can be very effective.

Koundjio is very stiff and lacks movement skills. He doesn’t have the agility to track down linebackers at the next level and struggles against penetrating defensive tackles.
Projected: Round 3

John Miller, Louisville (6-2, 303)

Miller has the body of a grown man with good thickness up top. Straight ahead, he can clear lanes. He has heavy hands and a strong punch. He uses good arm extension in pass protection and is effective when mirroring defenders.

Miller has lead in his shoes and does not move well. He also lacks technique. That said, most scouts feel his best days are ahead of him. He could develop into an effective run blocker in the NFL.
Projected: Round 3

THE PICK: Reese Dismukes

A case could be made that no player on this list is worth a Bears draft pick in the first three rounds. With a starting lineup already established, and Garza under contract for one more year, GM Ryan Pace doesn’t need to reach for an interior blocker.

If Dismukes falls to the third round, he’ll represent the best value on this list. He was a consensus All-American and won the Rimington Award as the nation’s top center as a senior. An SEC team captain, he started 50 games during his career.

New Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase utilizes plenty of zone blocking, the type of system in which Dismukes can excel. He has good movement and excellent hand placement, which makes up for his lack of ideal athleticism and strength.

Dismukes is an ideal candidate to sit one year under Garza before taking over as the starting pivot in Chicago in 2016.



Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

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