As I got down to the top of this list, the one thing that really stood out to me was the quality here. The Bears have three players who are without question among the top two or three at their positions. In the three years I’ve done this list, I don’t know that they’ve ever even had one.
The Bears also have four all pros on this list and two other players who are 25 or younger and could easily be all pros this year.
10. Kyle Long, OG
He’s not young anymore but Long is still a mauler when he’s on the field. The Bears have only been able to get about half of their snaps with Long in recent seasons, but they’ve been significantly better when he has played.
9. Danny Trevathan, LB
One of the most underrated players on the Bears. Trevathan sets the tone with his leadership, while also flying around the field. Covers a lot of ground in the passing game and against the run.
8. Allen Robinson
According to the early camp reports, we didn’t see the real A-Rob last year. After an early season ankle injury, Robinson caught 40 passes for 612 yards in his final eight games. Expect to see more this year.
7. Roquan Smith, LB
In 12 months, we might be talking about Smith as one of the five best defensive players in the league. He led the team in tackles last year, despite missing all of training camp. He is an amazing blitzer who moves like a safety in coverage.
6. Cody Whitehair, OL
It’s hard to believe that 12 months ago we were talking about Whitehair’s ability to snap the ball. He got the job done there, but he was never great at it. Now that isn’t even a part of his game; he gets to fly around and just move people. I expect Whitehair to be considered one of the best in the league at his position by this time next year.
5. Tarik Cohen, RB/PR/WR
Cohen gives the Bears a guy who can make things happen when they really shouldn’t. He seems like he’s stuck, but then he sneaks free and gets into the open field. Needs to cut down on the fumbles, but he’s their spark plug.
4. Kyle Fuller, CB
I didn’t think Fuller would be this high on the list when last season began and he got roasted by the Packers, but here he is. Fuller put in 15 great games last year and was dominant at times. (Seriously, re-watch the Bills game.) He isn’t the greatest individual cover corner but he gets his hands on the ball and takes it away. Takeaways are king.
3. Akiem Hicks, DL
Ranking Hicks third might seem like an insult, but the reality is the Bears have at least three players who are among the two or three best at their positions and Hicks is one of them. Dominant against the run, collapses the pocket, bats passes down. Hicks is just a beast with no noticeable flaw in his game.
2. Eddie Jackson, S
It isn’t an exaggeration to say Jackson is a Hall of Fame talent because that’s exactly what he looked like last year. Sometimes he takes bad angles on tackles, but nobody makes more big plays than Jackson and nobody has more range. His pick-six against Detroit last year was as good of a play as you’ll ever see a safety make. Now, we get to see him in a more aggressive scheme. Watch out.
1. Khalil Mack, Edge
What more needs to be said? Easily one of the five best players in the entire league, he dominates against the run and the pass with no flaw in his game. When the Bears needed a big play, Mack almost always came through with it. The scary part is that he was hobbled for most of last year; he was never able to quite turn the edge or rush with the same burst after his early-season ankle injury.