46 days until Chicago Bears 2017 season kicks off: Hendrick Ekpe profile

LAKE FOREST, IL - MAY 12: Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery
LAKE FOREST, IL - MAY 12: Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery /

The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series is now underway. With 46 days to go until the Bears season kicks off we will highlight linebacker Hendrick Ekpe

2016 Review

Last season Ekpe was a senior playing at Minnesota. He played all four seasons for the Golden Gophers, but his 2016 senior season was the best of his career. Ekpe put up a career high of 4.5 sacks in 2016 after putting up just four in his three years combined prior. He also put up 8.5 tackles for loss as a senior, ousting his year-three total of 7.5 heading into the year. It is safe to say that Ekpe will probably not be in the league if it were not for that senior season.

2017 Outlook

Ekpe is going to have a long grind to the roster. Outside linebacker could be one of the deeper position groups on the team when healthy. Leonard Floyd, Pernell McPhee Lamarr Houston and Willie Young should all be locks if healthy. This does not even bring in Sam Acho, Dan Skuta and the other inside linebackers who will be fighting for a job as well. It is safe to say that in 2017, barring injury, that the best case scenario for Ekpe will be to wind up on the practice squad.

Next: Ranking the roster: 20-16

Future with the Bears

The longer Ekpe can stick around the practice squad, the better. In 2017, it will be important to watch his battle with Isaiah Irving, as only one may be worth carrying into next season. Ekpe will get his chance to earn a future job in Chicago in training camp this year.