Chicago Bears Rookie Grades (Part 1)

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears kicked off a rebuilding plan in 2015 with a new general manager, head coach, a mostly new coaching staff and a roster that had over half new players by the end of the 2015 season. With that much roster turnover and the Bears being decimated by injuries, there were plenty of opportunities for Bear rookies to step up and earn playing time.

The Bears currently have 20 rookies on their full roster (active, IR, practice squad, etc), 12 of which saw NFL snaps this past season. They have another 17 players who just completed their 2nd year in the league. That’s 41% of their roster with just two years or less in the league (37 of 90).

The Bears new leadership took a team that was one of the oldest in the league over the last three years and turned it into one of the youngest teams in the league in just a season. They also made significant progress in building a roster that better fits their plan for the future. There is still a long way to go, but the Bears are moving in the right direction.

A 6-10 record is nothing to be excited about but the Bears had a chance to win all but three or four of those losses despite starting lineups populated with about half first & second year players, most of whom were undrafted or castoffs from other teams. The coaching staff deserves a ton of credit for fielding a competitive team with players who on paper shouldn’t have been.

Looking forward the Bears found some rookies who have a chance to be core pieces for the future, which should have been their goal for a rebuilding team in 2015. I’ll be grading the Bears drafted rookies below and covering the undrafted ones in my next post.

Bears Rookie Grades (drafted)

1st Round: Kevin White

The potential of an Alshon Jeffery & Kevin White combo at wide receiver had Bear fans excited going into the season. White has a potentially elite combo of size (6’3 | 215), speed (4.35 40-time), and strength (23 bench reps of 225 pounds) but his pre-combine training caused a shin injury that kept White on the sidelines all season. Obviously his grade this year is incomplete, but White was 100% healthy the last few weeks of the season and supposedly dominated Bears corners in late season practices.

Grade: Incomplete