Phil Emery continued to put his stamp on this Bears team by keeping 10 rookies on the opening week roster. By now most Bears fans have heard of Kyle Long, Jon Bostic, and Jordan Mills, but I’ve listed a quick scouting report on all ten Bears rookies and how they performed in week 1. I will be keeping track of their progress throughout the season so check back on Tuesday to see how the rookies are progressing.
Meet the Rookies:
Kyle Long: There was a lot of grumbling from Bear fans when Phil Emery choose Kyle Long with the Bears 1st round pick over well known names like Alec Ogletree & Tyler Eifert, but no one is complaining now that Long has established himself as the Bears starting RG. Long had perhaps the best preseason of any Bears rookie. His dominant performance in the second preseason game solidifying his starting spot.
Week 1: Long has his hands full with Geno Atkins, widely considered one of the best DTs in the NFL, for 25 snaps on Sunday and for the most part held his own. Long failed to get much traction in the running game as there were few holes inside for either Forte or Bush. He also gave up two pressures, but didn’t allow a sack and had no penalties. Considering that this may be the best D-line Long will face all season, I’d say it was a success.
Jordan Mills: Little was expected from the RT out of Louisiana Tech when he was drafted in the 5th round, but after the turnstile J’Marcus Webb couldn’t cut it at RT, Mills was promoted to the first team. He came out of the blocks strong with a solid performance in the Bears second preseason game against San Diego and hasn’t looked back.
Week 1: While Geno Atkins is the most well-known of the Bengals dominant D-line, defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson are no slouches either (17.5 sacks combined in 2012). Mills more then held his own in his first NFL start. He allowed only 1 pressure and was a force in the run game. Pro Football Focus graded Mills out at +3.4 which was the highest grade of any Bear O-lineman. Mills wasn’t called for any penalties and kept his cool late in the game after drawing Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga into an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, sealing the game for the Bears. Mills admitted to being so nervous he was shaking before the game, but he went out and played like a seasoned vet.
Jon Bostic: The 2nd round pick from Florida was another surprise pick from Emery as most “expert” analysts had him pegged as a 3rd or 4th round value and projected 1st round MLB Arthur Brown was still on the board. Maybe Bears fans will learn to trust Emery during the draft next year as Bostic has quickly proved to be an impact player at MLB. Bostic still needs some work shedding blocks and in pass coverage, but he’s a playmaker. His pick-6 in the preseason opener and his vicious hit on Chargers WR Mike Willie in game 2 were two of the best preseason highlights. I wrote more about Bostic’s chances to start earlier this week, but Trestman decided on veteran DJ Williams the day before the opener. While Bostic isn’t starting now, the future is bright and he should be the Bears MLB no later than week 1, 2014.
Week 1: Despite word from the coaches that Bostic would rotate in for DJ Williams during the opener, he didn’t see one defensive snap and was relegated to special teams where he failed to record a tackle. Expect more defensive snaps for Bostic as soon as the Bears find themselves with a little breathing room on the scoreboard.
Kaseem Greene – OLB: The Bears added to their LB depth with the 4th round pick out of Rutgers. Greene was very productive in college, winning Co-Big East defensive player of the year in 2011. He’s not the most explosive athlete, but has good speed and natural football instincts. Barring an injury to the current starters, Greene will be primarily a special teams player in 2013 but should be in the mix for a starting job in 2014.
Week 1: Recorded 1 tackle on special teams coverage.