"The benefit of having a guy like James Daniels is he can play different positions," coach Matt Nagy said. "So (we'll) be able to let him come in here and play guard and see what he can do, learn from the other guys, let (offensive line coach) Harry (Hiestand) teach these guys the technique. He's a young kid now, (and) his arrow is pointing up, (and) it gives us an opportunity to let Cody (Whitehair) grow at center. That's his spot."
For the sake of continuity, allowing Whitehair to remain at center is important, especially after the way he helped quarterback Mitch Trubisky transition as a rookie taking snaps directly from center, after he operated out of the shotgun at North Carolina. Whitehair was mostly a guard at Kansas State, but 28 of his 32 NFL starts have been at center, including all 16 as a rookie, since he was drafted in the second round (56th overall) in 2016.
Hiestand, who is one of the most respect O-line coaches in the NFL, has signed off on the move, which gives it instant credibility. Daniels doesn't seem at all overwhelmed by the move, and it could make his transition to the NFL smoother.
"My true freshman year at Iowa I played all guard," Daniels said. "It's hard, but you don't have to make the calls and you don't have to snap, which are two things that centers do that people don't realize how hard it is."
The fact that Daniels' technique is better than most rookies, and that he's a quick study, should help him overcome the hurdles that come with the position change.
"He's doing well," Nagy said Saturday, after weather forced the practice inside the Walter Payton Center for a second straight day. "When you see him in the huddle, when we're calling plays, he's very focused. You can see he's listening to the plays; he's trying to understand it. He's just so entrenched into what's going on. He's not looking (like) anything is too big for him.
"This kid is really into it. He's into the details. When you have a kid who's into it like that, you're at an advantage because he's going to listen. He's going to be a sponge and soak everything up, so he can develop."
The rookie minicamp roster lists the 6-foot-4 Daniels at 295 pounds, which would be small for an NFL guard, but he said he weighed 310 when he left Iowa on Thursday. Daniels said he can add or subtract weight depending on the target weight he's eventually assigned, and Nagy doesn't see that as a problem, especially for a still-growing 20-year-old with a large frame.