It’s only mid May, but the Bears’ three-day weekend mini-camp left me wanting more.
Last weekend was a tease in the sense that it was the first chance we were able to get an all-too-brief snapshot of the Bears’ future. There isn’t much predictive value in rookie mini-camps, but knowing the direction of the franchise and how GM Ryan Pace is attempting to build a roster almost forces your focus to the development players who are part of the long-term plan.
Of course, that will change when training camp opens up and the veterans return to full swing of things. But for now, it’s nice to keep an eye on some of the freshest faces the franchise has added to the mix.
- With that in mind, CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden ranks the Bears’ rookies based on their expected impact on the 2017 season – which is a more difficult task than you might imagine, because of the uncertainty tied to each player. Granted, all picks have uncertain futures ahead, but remember that none of the team’s five draft picks have a direct path to a starting job in Week 1. However, we are starting to see a growing consensus that tight end Adam Shaheen is the player most likely to make an early impact. Surely, that’s something new quarterback Mike Glennon would greatly appreciate.
- Perhaps the man who wants to be known as “Big Daddy” could find himself as one of the rookies in a big role this season. Indeed, running back Tarik Cohen was one of the Bears’ two fourth-round picks, and can already see himself taking on multiple roles with the team as soon as this year. ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson writes about the potential spots where he could be used on in Dowell Loggains’ offense.
- While three days of non-contact drills aren’t going to give us too much insight, I’m intrigued by the idea of Cohen catching passes out of the backfield. Jordan Howard had a lowly 58 percent catch rate out of the backfield as a rookie, and a year ago at this time, Jeremy Langford was coming off a season in which his catch percentage was a discouraging 52.4 percent. Running backs making plays in the passing game was an element missing from the Bears offense in 2016 (and even 2015, when Matt Forte was sidelined with an injury). So to see a potential playmaker in that role adds a hint of intrigue to an offense that could certainly use it.
- Pro Football Weekly’s Kevin Fishbain takes a look at Joel Bouagnon, another rookie running back who could find his way into the mix during training camp and even the preseason. The Northern Illinois product was one of 13 undrafted free agents signed by the Bears who received their first taste of life as an NFL rookie. However, it’s notable that Bouagnon was the only running back in the mix.
- Over at Bleacher Report, Chris Roling takes a look into the future and predicts some of the Chicago Bears’ statistical leaders for the 2017 season. There are some lofty totals here, and it would make for – at a minimum – an interesting season if everything were to play out as predicted. For example, could Mike Glennon really approach 4,000 passing yards and nearly 30 touchdowns? Does Cameron Meredith have a second breakout season and more than 1,000 receiving yards in him? These aren’t all necessary likely benchmarks, but hey we deserve some optimism too, don’t we?
- The NFLPA released a list of the players whose jersey sales are on the rise, and it surprisingly features a pair of Bears players – including one in the top five. Jordan Howard’s jersey ranks fourth on this list, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering his status as the Bears’ best offensive player, his status as a fantasy football favorite, and the fact that Bears fans tend to naturally gravitate towards their running backs, because of how well they’ve traditionally played for the franchise. On the other hand, seeing Mitch Trubisky come in at 25th is a bit of a surprise considering some of the harsh blowback after the Bears moved to acquire him … and the fact that he has yet to take a meaningful snap. But if all goes well, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him skyrocket up the list at this time next year.
- It’s May, so it’s *totally* OK to laugh at this because laughing is healthy:
— Onion Sports Network (@OnionSports) May 15, 2017