The Chicago Bears were very active this past offseason pulling out all the stops to help build up this roster. While there has been a significant amount of improvement on both sides of the ball there still remains one glaring need: pass rusher. A former second-overall pick may be just what they are looking for, however, as Poles may just have one more trick up his sleeve. That trick could be Chase Young to the Bears
Why Ryan Poles May Have One More Trick Up His Sleeve
Needs prior to the draft
The Bears entered the offseason with three areas to address on their team; wide receiver, offensive tackle, and an edge rusher. When Chicago traded back with Carolina and acquired D.J. Moore, this in essence narrowed their area of focus.
While some felt they should double down on this and draft Fields’ former teammate in Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the main debate diverged to Paris Johnson Jr., and the multitude of pass rushers behind Will Anderson Jr., even with Jalen Carter being an option. While we’ve seen a number of former college teammates reunited at the NFL level and have success, it makes sense why most wanted this to happen with Fields.
When it came time for the Bears to pick, Paris Johnson Jr. had been selected, they weren’t going to draft a receiver after getting D.J. Moore, and they passed on Jalen Carter. Drafting Darnell Wright checks the second area of need they entered the offseason with. They added some additional players in the later rounds for the defensive line yet this team still needs to address the current state of their defensive line room.
State of the defensive line room
From a team that was known for its stout defense, now its most notable pass rusher is Trevis Gibson. This fan base is used to seeing the impact that Khalil Mack made, seeing a Robert Quinn have a career year later in his career. The interior has three rookies in Gervon Dexter Jr., Zach Pickens, and Travis Bell. They beefed up further in free agency up the middle adding Andrew Billings, who will be a force.
On the edge, Rasheem Green and DeMarcus Walker both are players who haven’t truly hit their stride yet. Both have shown promise with each posting six sacks the season prior. Dominque Robinson is last year’s rookie who has tremendous length, Justin Jones is the vet up the middle, and Trevis Gibson has shown the most promise of the entire group. Right now, they are banking mostly on potential and what these players have flashed in prior seasons.
Going back a couple of years, Chase Young was on top of the world. Some debated whether he would be the first overall selection over Joe Burrow. While he was not first off the board, he didn’t wait long to hear his name called. Being selected by Washington second overall, he stepped in and immediately made an impact.
In Young’s rookie season, he tallied 7.5 sacks, 44 tackles, and four forced fumbles. He was selected to the Pro Bowl and was honored as the Defensive Rookie of the Year. His impact on his team also led them to a playoff berth.
In the following season, one can argue he regressed from his sky-high status his rookie season. He only tallied 1.5 sacks, 26 tackles, and two forced fumbles before his season ended prematurely. In Week 10, he tore his ACL against the Bucs which kept him out until Week 16 of this past season. Coming into the league red-hot and playing along with Montez Sweat, Darron Payne, and Jonathon Allen, one could say he has not yet lived up to the hype. Washington clearly felt that way after extending Payne and declining Young’s fifth year option.
Why it works
To put it simply, there are times when a player needs a change in scenery. That may be the point where Young is. If he joins the Bears, it could be mutually beneficial.
The Bears were last in the league with sacks, only totaling 20 from last season. This was an entire 50 sacks behind the league-leading 70 from the Eagles. Any contribution that Young can make will be met with open arms from this fan base. He can go from being just another guy in Washington to being the guy in Chicago. The Bears would want to add someone with blue chip potential to re-energize the fan base, re-creating the hype from the Khalil Mack trade.
Another reason this would work is the ties he has with starting quarterback, Justin Fields. While this is not the typical joining of former teammates, we have seen this work in the NFL recently. Burrow got Chase, Tagovailoa got Waddle, and Lawrence got Etienne. Without the Bears beginning to use extremely creative packaging, these two will not be on the field together, but that’s okay. Young is an open line of communication to the defense and another player in the locker room in Fields’ corner. Iron will sharpen iron in practice and both players could largely benefit.
Now to get down to brass tax, the Bears have the best compensation to offer for this pick. While likely they won’t receive the Za’Darius Smith discount, the Bears have an additional first and fourth from next season. It’s reasonable to not want to part with a first round pick but the reward outweighs the risk. If the Bears roll the dice, they could have filled every single area of need through the offseason. With this move, they could make a run for the North with Rodgers gone.