Chicago Bears Potential Break Out Players: Eddie Royal


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With new upper management, a new coaching staff, and an influx of new players the 2015 Chicago Bears are going to look different on both sides of the ball. With new schemes in place on offense and defense, there will inevitably be plenty of new starters. The offense has a few new play-makers (Royal, White, Langford) and the defense has a more significant scheme change which could lead to as many as 7-8 new starters depending on how things pan out in training camp. I’ve already covered some potential breakout players on defense and now I’m moving on to the offense.

The Bears offense probably won’t have as many new starters as the defense, but will be running a different scheme than it has the last two seasons. The only glimpse we have into the Bears 2015 offense is what the Broncos ran under Fox and OC Adam Gase the last few seasons and a few sound-bites from the players about it being “fast-paced”. It’s possible Gase implements a completely different scheme but if they go with a similar offense to what the Broncos ran last year, there are a few Bears players poised for breakout seasons in 2015. One of those players is new wide receiver Eddie Royal.

Eddie Royal

The Bears signed free agent Eddie Royal to a 3-year, $15M deal this offseason. Royal, 29, is a 7-year NFL veteran who spent the first four years of his career with Denver, including one season under Bears HC John Fox, before moving to the Chargers for the last three seasons. He’s been a productive but inconsistent slot receiver who excels at running sharp routes, getting open underneath, and has shown a knack for scoring TDs in bunches. For his career Royal has 338 catches for 3,750 yards and 25 receiving TDs.

Royal has yet to match the production from his rookie season (91 catches, 980 yards, 5 TDs) in 2008, but 2014 was his 2nd best season with 62 catches as the Chargers slot receiver. His QB in his rookie season was Jay Cutler in his last year as a Bronco. Cutler and Royal had a natural rapport and on a Bears team with few good route runners, Royal could again be Cutler’s go to receiver.

Despite having two very talented receivers last year, the Bears receiving core lacked diversity. They had two good deep threats on the outside, but lacked a slot receiver who could get open consistently over the middle and on short routes. The Bears really haven’t had a receiver who could get open underneath on a regular basis in Cutler’s career, but now they do and Royal could put up huge reception numbers in his first year with the Bears.

Royal has already gained his coaches attention and has been one of the most mentioned offensive players in OTAs. If he plays up to his potential, Royal should give the Bears offense more versatility in 2015. Giving Cutler a slot receiver who can get open consistently should improve his overall productivity and limit the desperation balls Cutler threw up for grabs last season because he didn’t have a better option. Royal has already earned Cutler’s trust from their time together in Denver and could quickly take over for Brandon Marshall as Cutler’s safety valve. The already established rapport with Cutler, the lack of competition for the slot role, and Royal’s precise route running ability could lead to the best numbers of Royal’s career and a breakout season in 2015.

Next: OLB David Bass Has Major Pass Rush Upside

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