Cody Whitehair received a rare honor indeed this week when Pro Football Focus rated him among the top 25 interior offensive linemen in the league "ahead of the 2020 season."
It's a rare honor because top 25 out of 96 starters between the three interior offensive linemen on each of the 32 teams is a decent rating.
It's also a rare honor because Pro Football Focus did the rating and rarely finds much positive to say about the Bears. Even their defense takes a beating from PFF.
Before getting overly excited, it has to be pointed out Whitehair was ranked 25th in this group of 25.
As usual, there is plenty of fault to be found with what PFF did here.
PFF points out how Whitehair is better at center than at guard, which is true. They also said the Bears have made the right move by apparently making him their center again because his PFF grade of 64.9 last year when splitting time between two spots was a career low.
All of this is reasonable and solid thinking.
Yet you have to consider what other nuggets they've buried in this article before thinking PFF is starting to warm up to the Bears.
They rated Whitehair behind two other centers in the division: Green Bay's Corey Linsley and Detroit's Frank Ragnow.
They rated Linsley 24th and Ragnow 22nd.
Both Linsley and Whitehair should be rated ahead of Ragnow.
They called Ragnow one of the "up-and-comers."
Nothing against Ragnow as he might eventually be one of the better centers. But PFF said Whitehair would improve this year because he's back at center, and they also point out: From 2016-2018 Whitehair's 83.5 PFF rating when he played center "ranked seventh among 42 players to play at least 1,000 snaps at the position."
Now, if he was in the 80s over three years and a top seven guy, and they've restored him to where he excelled in those three years, and he had a PFF grade higher for those three years by at least 13 points on average over the best Ragnow has ever done (70.1), how is it that Ragnow rates better than Whitehair?
It must be the PFF anti-Bear factor again.
This article should have lost all credibility when it had 37-year-old Raiders guard Richie Incognito ranked not only in the top 25 but in the top 10. Incognito might rank top 10 all time for most gutless chop blocks thrown, but that's about the highest rating he should ever get.
That's not something anyone should receive a high mark for throwing, but PFF doesn't care in doling out this grade. Incognito last year was just living off the coat tails of Raiders center Rodney Hudson, who was ranked sixth but probably should be ahead of Cowboys guard Zack Martin, the Eagles' Jason Kelce and Atlanta's Alex Mack, all of whom were rated higher.
It's best not to attach too much significance to this ranking by PFF, anyway, after seeing their comments about former Saints guard Larry Warford.
This article, dated Aug. 11 by PFF's Ben Linsey, rated Larry Warford 21st overall, and says "the fact that the recently cut Warford remains a free agent still baffles me."
There's a pretty good reason why Warford is still a free agent.
He opted out for this season as a free agent two weeks before the article was even posted.