Bears Don’t Really Rank Among Fox’s Top 100 Players

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23. Julius Peppers, DE, Bears (2009 Rank: 6)

"Fresh off a new $91.5 million deal, Peppers was reportedly a terror in Chicago’s recent minicamp. Rotating on both left and right sides of the D-line, the eight-year vet looked as fit and as motivated as he’s ever been, drawing false starts and blowing by O-linemen. The knock on Peppers? It’s been the same since he entered the NFL in 2002 — that he has a tendency to take plays off and not play up to his potential. The Bears need him to be at his very best. Chicago’s defense was last in the league in third-and-long in ’09."

Peppers hasn’t even suited up for the Beloved and he’s already dropped 17 spots.  The prized free agent of the 2010 class is far and away the highest ranking Bear.   I should hope so for the millions they committed to him this offseason.  If he comes even close to this ranking, the defense will indeed have taken a step in the right direction.

To close out, I’m trying not to look at the glass as being half empty, but it’s hard not to.  If you consider that there are 32 teams, having four guys in the top 100 would seem to put us better than average.  It’s really where players ranks that frustrates me.  Cutler barely cracked the list, our two marquee linebackers are ranked in the 6o’s, and a guy who has never played a down with the team just cracks into the top 25.  No Matt Forte or Chester Taylor.  No Greg Olsen.  No offensive linemen or wide receivers.  No one in the secondary.

If this team expects to get anywhere, Cutler had better outplay his ranking and a few people will need to step up to make next year’s list.   My choices – Johnny Knox on offense and Tommie Harris on defense.  Who needs to step up for the Bears this season?  Hit it up in the comments.