General manager Ryan Pace and the Bears have a variety of measures used in evaluating players and different ways of trying to quantify some of the skills and potential.
They also have a very “qualitative” standard, one that not many players earn but that Oregon center Hronis Grasu had on his computer-screen overview.
“There’s certain guys on our board that we’ll check a ‘Bears’ box, a little ‘Bear’ that’ll pop up,” Pace said, smiling. “To us, that’s a guy who has every trait we’re looking for. His makeup is outstanding. Grasu is one of those guys.
“And [Grasu Oregon teammate] Kyle Long just confirmed all those things when we talked to him.”
The Bears saw the end of the Chicago career of Roberto Garza this offseason and brought in his replacement in the form of Will Montgomery, the center for the Denver Broncos under coach John Fox and coordinator Adam Gase.
They went another step toward securing the middle of the offensive line on Friday, selecting Grasu with their third-round pick, the 71st overall. They got a case of can-do attitude if nothing else.
“I’ll jump up and down on one leg on the sideline if that’s what they ask me to do,” Grasu said.
Grasu, 6-3, 297 pounds, played alongside Bears Pro Bowl guard Long at Oregon in 2012. Long was the Bears’ first-round pick in the 2013 draft. “The guy's just a freak; he's a monster,” Grasu said. “He was always the guy that was sacrificing his entire body for his team. He's the guy that comes in and always go all out. I just wanted to learn as much as I can from him.”
Grasu also played against new Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman when Oregon blew out Florida State in the 2015 Rose Bowl. "Going into that game, I knew it was going to be a huge challenge,” he said. “I thought both of us had a really good game."
(Considering that Oregon had 301 rushing yards, 639 total and 52 points, Goldman’s take on the game might have been slightly different.)
[2015 NFL Draft: Recap of second and third round picks in Day 2]
This marks the first time since 2008 (Chris Williams, Matt Forte, Earl Bennett) that the Bears selected as many as two offensive players within the first three picks of a draft.
Grasu was one of six finalists in both 2013 and 2014 for the Rimington Trophy given to the nation’s top college center.
“He has to make a lot of identifications,” Pace said. “He’s a highly intelligent player. Those things jump out to me. His athleticism really jumps out guys. Just his quickness and his balance. The things you look for in a center, I mean, lateral quickness is important for a center. The ability to reach a nose tackle.
“He’s got all those traits. So physically he is everything we’re looking for. And then mentally, the intelligence factor in a center is huge. And he definitely has that.”