The Chicago Bears went local in the later rounds of the draft this year, selecting center Doug Kramer out of the University of Illinois with the No. 207 pick in Round 6.
Kramer, an Illinois native, attended Hinsdale Central High School before becoming a five-year starter for the Illini. He redshirted a year while also taking the free year of eligibility offered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so he’s a bit older, turning 24 in June.
The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Kramer is experienced, playing in 39 games in college, but a primary knock on him is his lack of strength due to his frame. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein noted Kramer “moves fairly well but lacks the body control and core strength to win battles against NFL interior linemen.”
Based on a video that made the rounds on Twitter after his selection, though, strength is something Kramer has plenty of.
ALL the latest Bears news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Bears newsletter here!
Kramer Pushes Dodge Ram in Viral Video
A day after the Bears drafted Kramer, a video originally shared by the young O-lineman on Twitter in 2020 resurfaced and made the rounds. It features Kramer pushing a Dodge Ram truck across a parking lot. You can watch it below:
Naturally, Twitter had a few things to say about it:
One Twitter user noted Kramer was pushing the vehicle uphill, which adds a degree of difficulty:
While many had Rams jokes:
While it’s got zero to do with his on-field production, it’s a fun and encouraging display of strength considering that’s one of the main criticisms surrounding him.
That said, he was an excellent leader at Illinois, and he played well against solid competition in the Big Ten. In 2021, Kramer played in 11 games and had 719 total snaps on offense, allowing two sacks, a QB hit and five hurries, per PFF. In the previous two seasons, he played 1,067 snaps and gave up one sack, a QB hit and four hurries.
Adding more muscle shouldn’t be an issue — that’s what the weight room is for — and if he can do that, he could turn into a solid depth addition at center.
Follow the Heavy on Bears Facebook page, where you can weigh in on all the latest Bears-related breaking news, rumors, content and more!
Kramer Is Intriguing Prospect for Bears
Kramer has the opportunity to learn behind veteran center Lucas Patrick, who the Bears signed to a two-year, $8 million contract this offseason. Bears general manager Ryan Poles said after the draft that if players taken in later rounds are willing to learn and put in the work, it could pay off.
“Obviously you hope for the best, but there might be a process,” Poles said on April 30. “It takes time. This league’s extremely hard and tough. There’s a lot thrown at these guys, but that’s why we really emphasize the makeup that they have inside of them because they’re willing to go through the hard times, they’re willing to listen, they’re willing to put their pride away and start from the bottom and work up.”
Kramer’s teammate, University of Illinois OL Alex Pihlstrom, said the “Bears are getting an extremely intelligent guy who recognizes defenses very well and is a natural leader” in Kramer, adding the center was a “super good teammate and leader who does everything right. Definition of a gritty guy.”
He could wind up on the practice squad this season, but Kramer also has a chance to beat out last year’s starting center Sam Mustipher for a spot on the roster. It’ll be an intriguing position battle to watch when training camp begins.