The Chicago Bears have one of the youngest rosters in all of football. However, they have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. They’re led on offense by Mitchell Trubisky, who is looking to grow even more in his third season. He’s surrounded by a talented group of skill players, led by Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen. The Bears have even more talent on the defensive side of the ball. Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Jackson, and Kyle Fuller are key cogs in one of the best defenses in football. In this installment, I would like to focus on a few guys who had solid seasons last year. Guys who have the potential to breakout and have monster years for the Monsters of the Midway. Here are the Chicago Bears breakout candidates for the 2019 season.
Chicago Bears 2019 Breakout Candidates
In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bears traded up in the second round to select Anthony Miller. Miller had a solid rookie season, catching 33 passes for 423 yards and seven touchdowns. He finished fifth on the team in receptions and receiving yards, but first in touchdowns. In addition, Miller was dealing with a shoulder injury for most of the season, which hindered some of his production. He electrified the crowd with his playmaking ability, as well as his touchdown celebrations. Miller perfectly fits the new Club Dub culture, which was why they decided to trade up for him.
Miller will be 25 heading into next season, which is older than most of the guys in his draft class. He was one of Trubisky’s favorite targets last season, and I don’t think that will change much this year. The concern for Miller is the number of mouths that Mitchell Trubisky has to feed in that offense. The Bears have six or seven quality skill players that could steal touches away from Miller. Fortunately for Miller, Matt Nagy likes him a lot. He will continue to find ways for Miller to get the ball, whether that be with screen passes or even reverses. Look for Miller to be one of the Bears best skill players in 2019.
It’s been an underwhelming three years for Leonard Floyd in Chicago. Floyd has struggled to stay healthy in his first two years. He played in only 22 of a possible 32 games. Floyd finished with a combined 11.5 sacks in those two years. Many thought last season was going to be a breakout year for the former Georgia Bulldog. Unfortunately, Floyd struggled to produce for one of the league’s best defenses. He finished last season with 47 tackles, nine tackles for loss and four sacks. However, for the first time in his career, he was able to play in all 16 games. Regardless, that’s not the production you want to see from a former top ten pick.
Despite the limited production, the Bears decided to pick up Floyd’s fifth-year option. This is a make or break year for Floyd. One positive that Bears fans could look at is the change in defensive coordinator. Even though former DC Vic Fangio was one of the best in the game, it is possible that the switch to Chuck Pagano could benefit a guy like Floyd. If Floyd can’t have a successful season this year, he will go down as one of the few bad picks in the Ryan Pace era.
Roquan Smith, like Anthony Miller, will be entering his second season in the NFL. Smith’s NFL career got off to a very interesting start. He was the last rookie to sign his contract, which took him until mid-August to sign. He missed all of the preseason after Smith and the Chicago Bears had trouble agreeing to terms on a contract.
Even though he missed multiple practices and the whole preseason, Smith played in all 16 games and had a great rookie season. He finished the season with 121 tackles, which was good for the 13th-best mark in all of football. In addition, he also recorded five sacks and a key interception against the eventual Super Bowl runner up Los Angeles Rams. Furthermore, Smith had a critical interception in the Bears playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He ripped the ball out of Wendell Smallwood‘s hands, and if Smallwood barely didn’t touch him, he would’ve taken it to the house.
Did I mention that he did this with missing most of the team’s off-season? Yeah, Smith is that good of a football player. He has the potential to become one of the game’s best linebackers. He has a lot to do to build off of an impressive rookie season, but Smith has great potential to be a Pro Bowl player for many years to come. Look for him to make his first of many this year.
Last Word on the Chicago Bears Breakout Candidates
There are many options but I believe that these guys will be the Chicago Bears breakout candidates in 2019. If the Bears want to repeat the success that they had last season, these three will have to perform at a high level. If Miller is able to be another reliable playmaker for Trubisky, that makes the offense much tougher to contain. Leonard Floyd will look to stay healthy and parlay that with production. Lastly, Roquan Smith will look to cement himself as one of the NFL’s best linebackers by building off of a strong rookie season. These guys will definitely be fun to watch this season.