How was defensive end Jonathan Bullard’s stock affected by his first performance in the preseason?
There could be two ways to look at the start of Bullard’s 2017 season. On one hand, the second year defensive lineman is still considered a backup behind Mitch Unrein. Unrein should not be that hard to beat for snaps, so it is not a ringing endorsement for Bullard to be behind him in year two.
On the other hand, Bullard looked pretty good in his limited playing time on Thursday. He put up two tackles and made one for loss on a big stuff in the running game. Bullard flashed in his first game.
However, the most important notion surrounding Bullard is that he did not stand out by making a mistake. Bullard did not see the field last season mainly due to play recognition and playbook understanding. He showed up on tape at times falling for misdirection or being in the wrong spot, and it had the Bears hesitant to trust him on the field.
Bullard maintained gap discipline and never stood out as a player who is out of place. As Bullard can grow on this momentum, a player such as Mitch Unrein will not be hard to overcome. Bullard shined more than recent signee Jaye Howard. It would not be a surprise to see Bullard get a big workload in week two of the preseason, as the team looks to see what they have in the second year defensive end from Florida. Bullard’s stock is on the rise.