LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears drafted Iowa center James Daniels in the second round on Friday, giving prized quarterback Mitchell Trubisky more protection.
The Bears have spent the offseason loading up the offense to help Trubisky develop into the franchise quarterback they believe he can become, and they got back to that after drafting Georgia standout linebacker Roquan Smith with the No. 8 pick.
Daniels’ selection with the 39th pick could signal a full-time move to guard for Cody Whitehair, who has bounced between that position and center. The Bears needed help at guard with Josh Sitton gone and with Kyle Long recovering from ankle, shoulder and neck surgeries.
The 6-foot-3, 306-pound Daniels played three seasons at Iowa and was honorable-mention, all-Big Ten last year. He is known for his quickness and balance, though there are some questions about his power.
The Bears finished last in the NFC North for the fourth straight year and missed the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons since the 2006 team’s Super Bowl run. They haven’t posted a winning record since 2012, Lovie Smith’s final year. But the Monsters of the Midway made some big moves designed to get the most out of their prized quarterback and lift a struggling franchise.
They fired John Fox and replaced him with the offensive-minded Matt Nagy, a protege of Andy Reid. They also gave Trubisky some new targets, including a new No. 1 receiver in Allen Robinson. A Pro Bowl pick in 2015, the Bears are counting on him to bounce back after tearing the ACL in his left knee during last year’s opener with Jacksonville.
Chicago also signed receivers Tayler Gabriel and Bennie Fowler while opting not to match New Orleans’ offer sheet for Cameron Meredith. The Bears have a different look at tight end, too.
They signed the versatile Trey Burton, who threw a touchdown to quarterback Nick Foles in Philadelphia’s Super Bowl win over New England. He replaces Zach Miller, who suffered an injury at New Orleans in late October that nearly cost him his left leg.
Daniels played early and often in Iowa City. He suited up in every game and started two at guard as a true freshman. The Warren, Ohio native moved to center in 2016 and quickly earned third-team All-Big Ten honors.
Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary announced the pick.