It’s Top 5 time and this edition we’ll discuss the Top 5 Chicago Bears poised to have a breakout season. You won’t see the Brian Urlachers and Julius Peppers of the world on this list. These are 5 guys that we all know and love around here, but who hope to become household names outside of Chicago.
The Bears invested a rare high round pick on an offensive lineman in the 2011 draft and early on, Carimi looked the part. Then he went down to a knee injury in Week 2 at New Orleans. The injury proved to be serious enough to cost him his 2011 season. Hopes are high for Carimi to anchor the right side of the line this season and for years to come. If he is fully healthy, he will have as monster a season as an offensive lineman can have.
#4 Chris Conte
Conte emerged for the Bears in his rookie season, starting 9 games and appearing in 14. He did that without any offseason program whatsoever. Given a full offseason and a handful of starts under his belt, 2012 is setting up to be a breakout season for the Bears for the player the Bears are hoping adds some stability to the secondary.
#3 Henry Melton
Melton is also one of my Top 5 Guys Facing a Make or Break season in 2012. The third year DT is finally getting to stay put for a second straight year. The converted running back out of Texas was drafted on athleticism and bounced between DE and DT in his first couple of seasons. Now, he’s set playing the 3-technique. In 2011, he notched 24 tackles and 7 sacks. The Bears want more consistency and Melton wants a new contract. Seems easy enough, right?
#2 Kellen Davis
I’ve reserved my top two slots for offensive players because the offense as a whole is set for a breakout season. We’ve already discussed Kellen Davis as a fantasy sleeper on this site, but this is about reality and not fantasy. Davis has the size to create major mismatches. How many safeties can cover a 6’7″ tight end? Davis never really had a chance to shine while with the Bears. He was buried behind Greg Olsen in his first couple of years, only to be stuck in Mike Martz’s “TE’s block or else” offense. Finally, Davis is set to flourish. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice was a tight end in the league, so he knows the value of the position. Expect Davis to get lots of opportunities and capitalize with a big season.
Jay Cutler’s former favorite target figures to reap the benefits of the new favorite target Brandon Marshall coming to town. Marshall will command double teams or at least cheating safety help and that will create holes underneath and on the other side of the field. Bennett has proven to have excellent hands and catches just about everything coming his way. He’s got sneaky speed and he’s pretty elusive. A lot of folks think Devin Hester is poised for a big season and that may be true, but I think Bennett will have the better season. As a seasoned pro with a big contract in his back pocket, I expect Earl will BLOW UP in 2012!
What do you think? Who else is going to have a breakout season for the Bears? Post your thoughts in the comments and…