31 questions to Bears camp: Is Mustipher ready to start at Center?

Aug 8, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears center Sam Mustipher (67) snaps the ball in the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears will report to training camp later this month, with Sam Mustipher likely to hold down the starting role at the Center position. Mustipher emerged halfway through the 2020 season, starting seven games and showcasing enough potential to warrant being the fulltime starter in 2021.

The Bears overhauled the offensive line this offseason, adding names like Larry Borom and Teven Jenkins through the 2021 NFL Draft but also adding veterans like Elijah Wilkinson via free agency. Mustipher emerging as the starting center would give Chicago a formidable offensive line on the interior as the former Notre Dame product would join veterans Cody Whitehair and James Daniels.

“I’ve always had the mindset that you know, I was going to go into a offseason preparing to play football,” Mustipher said via the Bears official YouTube channel. “Whether that be on practice squad, whether that be on the active roster, whether it be as the starting center. Each offseason, you know, I prepare with the exact same mindset, that I gotta be ready to play. Last year, the fruits of my labor were shown.”

Many consider starting just seven games a small sample size but seven starts is plenty of film for a young player like Mustipher who’s got a tremendous amount of upside and the potential to start for nearly a decade if Mustipher progresses the way many are hoping he does.

“I really feel like this offseason, more is critical for me to have that film, live film against other NFL defenses to understand the things that I need to work on and improve on,” said Mustipher.

Mustipher will show up to Bears training camp with 10 pounds of added muscle, something that will allow him to impose his will on defensive lineman, further allowing him to continue developing.

“Getting stronger, you know this offseason was all about gaining strength,” Mustipher said. “I put on 10 pounds of lean mass.”

Mustipher has done everything possible to warrant having a breakout season heading into 2021, which will help shape the outlook of Chicago’s offensive line significantly for years to come.