2.) Jonathan Bullard Will Emerge as the Bears Best Rookie – Bill Zimmerman
Ryan Pace’s back is starting to get a little tender from all the pats he’s received regarding his first draft class as general manager of the Chicago Bears. It’s not to say it isn’t deserved, he found some gems last year and the Bears had major contributions from several rookies which was great to see.
But that was 2015, and this is 2016. It’s time to look forward. Draft analysts think Pace has scored another tremendous draft class and time will tell if this class can equal or surpass the success that his first class had on the field. But one rookie in particular will emerge as the most impactful rookie in 2016, and no it’s not first round pick Leonard Floyd.
Floyd will take some time to develop and probably won’t see a high percentage of snaps as a rookie as he works on building up his weight and strength to better handle the rigors of being an every-down defensive player. Second-round pick Cody Whitehair should start for a Bears offensive line that lacks depth and really needs him to fill the shoes left by the released Matt Slauson.
But third round pick Jonathan Bullard will be the rookie that emerges as the cream of the crop this season. Bullard will have some growing pains like all rookies do, but his skill and talent cannot be doubted. Bullard will be able to get some pressure on the quarterback, but he will shine in run coverage.
Bullard is learning that, at the NFL level, he won’t be able to shoot the gap and rely on his athleticism every play, he needs to read an offense and react, but that doesn’t mean he won’t ever use his freakish skill. Bullard’s ability to get off the ball and get into the backfield will translate well to the NFL level. Watch the highlight package below. Bullard spends most of his day in opponent’s backfields tallying 17.5 tackles for a loss his last season at Florida.
His ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage, coupled with his versatility to play 3-tech, 4-tech, and 5-tech will make him a valuable asset the Bears’ defensive line.Bullard’s emergence will help anchor a defensive line that had serious questions in 2015 and help turn the Chicago Bears’ front seven into one of the most formidable against the run in the entire league.
Next: Bold Prediction #3