Bears trade back twice in Round 2, take OL Cody Whitehair
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The Bears traded back in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night — twice! — and still filled a need for their offense, taking Kansas State offensive lineman Cody Whitehair with the 56th overall selection.
Whitehair, who made a predraft to Halas Hall, was a four-year starter at Kansas State. He’s athletic and versatile, playing left guard and both tackle spots in college. But Whitehair(6-4, 301 pounds) is considered a guard in the NFL. He also said that’s where he feels he fits best.
“I’m just so thankful the Bears took me,” Whitehair said in a conference call. “I’m excited, I can’t wait to get on the field and make great relationships with these new teammates.”
General manager Ryan Pace wanted to improve the overall depth of the offensive line this offseason. Selecting Whitehair, whom some analysts considered a possible first-round pick, is part of that, but he’s also a future starter.
Veteran Matt Slauson played well last season, but the Bears’ decision to sign guard Ted Larsen in free agency was an indication that the team wants more in the middle of the line. Slauson also is a candidate for center.
The Bears traded their original No. 41 pick to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for No. 49, a fourth-round pick (No. 117) on Saturday and a fourth-rounder in next year’s draft. The Bills selected Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland with the 41st pick.
It was an adept move by Pace. The Bears began the draft with two fourth-round picks, but sent one (No. 106) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move up to the ninth overall pick to select Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd.
But Pace wasn’t done.
The Bears traded the 49th selection to the Seattle Seahawks for the 56th overall pick and a fourth-round selection (No. 124). The Bears passed on taking Alabama defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who was then drafted by the Seahawks.
Before the Bears’ No. 49 selection came up, the Packers traded up to No. 48 and selected Indiana offensive tackle Jason Spriggs.
Earlier in the second round, the Bears saw a handful of possible targets come off the board before their original No. 41 pick came up.
The Dallas Cowboys made the most stunning move, selecting injured Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith with the 34th overall selection. Two picks later, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up and took UCLA star linebacker Myles Jack, who also is returning from injury.
The San Diego Chargers selected Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry with the 35th overall pick. The Kansas City Chiefs, meanwhile, traded up and drafted Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones at No. 37.