Doug Kramer is living a dream. Growing up in Hinsdale, he was a big fan of Illinois football. Then he got the chance to play for the university in college. That alone would’ve been enough, but the football gods continued to smile upon him by having his beloved Chicago Bears draft him in the 6th round. It was a twist of fate that few athletes ever experience, and he can’t wait to start working.
The rookie spoke with Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, and Jim Miller on Bears All Access about his NFL arrival and what it means to him. Perhaps what stood out the most wasn’t his enthusiasm or the story itself. It was his surprising self-confidence. One would think a 6th round pick sees the professional level as some mountain to climb. Not Kramer. To him, it is still football at the end of the day. He can play as long as he’s on top of his details and puts in the work.
Part of this surprising calm stems from what he went through at Illinois.
While he treasured his time at the university, it wasn’t exactly an easy experience. Miller asked him about the impressions of the new Bears playbook under Luke Getsy. While admitting it was complex in many ways, Kramer didn’t sound overwhelmed by it. After all, he’d been forced to learn three different playbooks in three years of college. Not to mention having to work with three different offensive line coaches. This process is nothing new to him.
Doug Kramer finds himself in an interesting spot. Most would agree, due to his size, that he is a pure center in the NFL. That isn’t necessarily bad, but it limits his chances of finding playing time. Remember, the Bears signed Lucas Patrick to a multi-year contract in free agency. They feel he can be their guy in the middle moving forward. That means the rookie will have to make a strong impression to change their minds.
Then again, overcoming odds is nothing new to him. He’s the first center to successfully get drafted to the NFL in 17 years and only the fourth since 1973. Give him a window of opportunity, and he’s liable to seize it.