James Daniels (Shoulder) Sits Out Practice, But His Development at Guard Could Soon Get Back on Track

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James Daniels (Shoulder) Sits Out Practice, But His Development at Guard Could Soon Get Back on Track

Chicago Bears

Training camp isn’t going quite as we expected for rookie offensive lineman James Daniels, and missing practice with an injury isn’t likely to help matters.

Indeed, Colleen Kane recently reported that Daniels missed Monday’s practice with a shoulder injury – the severity of which is still unknown. Hopefully, it’s not too severe of an injury, because a lengthy absence could delay his development along the line of scrimmage, where he was balancing a pair of roles.

The University of Iowa product played his college ball (mostly) at center, but the Chicago Bears used their first of two second-round picks on Daniels with the intent of moving him to guard. And yet, Daniels has spent a healthy chunk of time during training camp practices as a reserve center, while Eric Kush has played a bulk of the snaps as the first-team’s left guard. Versatility is a good thing, but it would be nice to see Daniels settle into one place sooner, rather than later.

There was an expectation that Daniels would practice more as a left guard while also filling in at center when necessary behind starter Cody Whitehair and backup Hroniss Grasu. And while that still might be the case, @DaBearsBros tweeted an interesting development from Monday’s practice:

The Bears signed Jack Allen late last week in a move that should have raised some eyebrows. Allen went undrafted, but was a four-year starter at Michigan State who earned first-team All-American honors in 2015 while playing center. That move should push Daniels (when healthy) back into a position where he’s getting a steadier stream of reps at guard.

On its own, it’s a move that’s beneficial for Daniels and his long-term development. But if you step back, Allen’s addition could stand to be good for the team’s overall depth. In addition to playing center for the Spartans during his college years, Allen also spent some time at guard. That’s something that Grasu – the team’s other reserve center – can’t boast.

We’re quite a ways away from piecing together a 53-man roster. But judging how the Bears are valuing flexibility along the offensive line, we might need to keep our eyes on what appears to be a developing situation moving forward.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.