After finishing last season with a 3-13 record, the Chicago Bears didn’t have much to be proud of. But, after a busy start to this off-season via free agency, the Bears are turning some heads. Some of the moves have been received well, while others haven’t gotten much love. Whether it’s from free agency or returning players, there are at least five players to be on the watch for next season.
5. Kevin White
Kevin White was another player that was a risky first-round pick by the Bears’ that hasn’t yet panned out. White’s rookie season was spent on the sideline after suffering an injury and then he only played four games last season.
We haven’t seen much from White, no touchdowns yet, and this season is make or break for his career as a Chicago Bear. The Bears’ added Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton to their receiving core, but White brings the size to a speedy bunch. Along with Cameron Meredith, White is 6”3′ and that can be useful for the Bears, especially in the red zone.
4. Cameron Meredith
Meredith was the Bears’ best receiver last season and that was a surprise to just about everyone around the league. In just his second season out of Illinois State University he caught 66 passes and nearly made it to 1,000 receiving yards (888).
With the additions of Wright, Wheaton, and White coming back, Meredith will have to prove his worth as a receiver yet again this year. He has a size advantage and you should expect him to be a great red-zone threat for the Bears this season.
3. Leonard Floyd
The Bears took Floyd with the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft and many thought it was a stretch. But, following a rookie season with seven sacks (ranking third among rookies), now people can access Floyd based on his NFL play.
He only had 23 tackles to go along with the seven sacks and some even accused him of disappearing for parts of the season. This will be a big year for Floyd and Bears’ fans should be excited about their defense that is starting to come together on the front seven.
2. Quintin Demps
Demps was brought in this off-season as a free agent to bolster that weak secondary. Along with Marcus Cooper and Prince Amukamara, Demps brings stability to a secondary in need of it the most. The Bears’ only had eight interceptions as a team last season so these guys were needed.
Demps tops the list as a veteran who can bring the ball-hawking ability. He had six interceptions last season with the Houston Texans and that should excite Bears’ fans. Demps is getting up there in age at 31 years old, but he brings experience and production to the Bears’ secondary.
1. Jordan Howard
Despite the Bears’ being absolutely terrible last year Howard was a much-needed bright spot. He will carry some very impressive accolades into the 2017 season. He broke the Bears’ franchise rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards (Matt Forte held the record with 1,238 yards), became the youngest player in franchise history with 200 yards from scrimmage, broke the record for most games by a rookie with at least 100 rushing yards (seven), and became the fifth rookie in Bears’ history to record three rushing touchdowns in a single game (via Bleacher Report).
Oh, and the young man from Indiana University also made the Pro-Bowl. So, not too bad of a rookie season and Bears’ fans everywhere should be excited to see number 24 back on the field in blue and orange.