44 Days Until Chicago Bears 2017 Season Kicks off: Nick Kwiatkoski profile

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick /

The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series is now underway for the second season in a row.  With 44 days to go until the Bears season kicks off, we will highlight the Bears player that is wearing number 44, Nick Kwiatkoski.

2016 Review

The Bears drafted Kwiatkoski out of the University of West Virginia with the 113th overall selection in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.  He had a solid training camp and easily made the roster.  He was relegated to backup duty to start the season but was forced into playing in the third week of the season due to injuries.  Because of a thumb injury that Danny Trevathan suffered in week two, Kwiatkoski was thrust into the lineup in week four and had to start against Dallas.

He ended up playing in the seven games and finishing the season with six straight starts.  Kwiatkoski recorded a total of 44 total tackles with ten assists and one sack.  He performed well when called upon and was an asset to the team.  He was easily one of General Manager Ryan Pace’s better draft picks from the 2016 NFL Draft.

2017 Outlook

Now Kwiatkoski stands poised to contribute in an even larger fashion in 2017.  His status as a potential starter will depend on whether or not Trevathan can make it back from the knee injury he suffered in late November last year.  As of this writing, it is unclear whether Trevathan will be ready for training camp or even the start of the season.  That means Kwiatkoski could play a role in the competition for Trevathan’ s position.

First of all, you can consider Kwiatkoski to be a lock to make the team.  Unless he has a complete breakdown in training camp, he will be able to easily earn a spot.  In fact, he will start in Trevathan’s spot should he not be ready for training camp.

With one full season under his belt, he should have even more success in 2017.  He understands the defense, knows the calls and where to go.  He will be an asset this season.

Kwiatkoski should be involved in special teams this year.  Should he be relegated to backup duty, I would look for him to contribute there.

Next: Alex Scearce Profile

Future with the Bears

The Bears found a real gem with Kwiatkoski and feel that he could be one of their better recent draft picks.  He was a great find and a guy that has developed into a good backup who can step in and start as needed.  He could develop into a solid starter down the road if Chicago needed him to be.  In fact, I predict he could become a starter anytime between this season and the next.

One of the problems with getting him into a starting spot is that there is some good talent ahead of him.  At inside linebacker, you have Jerrell Freeman and the injured Trevathan.  Both are top tier talents.  But if Trevathan can’t play then Kwiatkoski should be the starter and could end up being starting for a while.

Something interesting to think about is if he does perform well and does start, the Bears may have a dilemma.  They would have a starting caliber player with little room for him to start should Trevathan and Freeman get and remain healthy.  Could that make him trade bait or could he take over as one of the two starting inside linebackers?

Consider his future in Chicago a good one.  He could be one of the more talented draft picks the Bears have had recently during the Pace regime.