Has Chicago Bears Mitch Unrein met his preseason expectations so far?
With the Chicago Bears bye week being at the halfway point, it is a great time to reflect on the first half. We will pick a group of Bears over the next two weeks and see whether or not they have met their expectations to date, and whether they can hit their expectations in the second half of the year. Today, we look at Mitch Unrein.
Unrein was in a huge role in 2016 and proved to be just a rotational player. He was probably Bears fans least appreciated starter heading into the season. Many wanted to see either Jonathan Bullard or Roy Robertson-Harris pass Unrein on the depth chart sooner or later.
Through Eight Weeks
Unrein has kept his job and has probably changed the minds of a lot of Bears fan in the process. Do not get it mistaken, Unrein is not an impact player. However, as the defensive end opposite of Akiem Hicks, he has been serviceable, to say the least. Unrein wins a lot with power. He is not moving the pocket much or making plays in the backfield. However, he is holding his ground to clog a run lane or make a tackle at the line of scrimmage. In a role-playing just under half of the team’s snaps, Unrein has not been an issue at all and has proved better than Bullard and Robertson-Harris so far.
Second half outlook
Yes, Unrein has been solid in his role and played a season-high in snaps last week against the New Orleans Saints. At the same time, his ceiling still is where it is. Bullard has a higher physical ceiling, and Robertson-Harris may too. It may not come this season, but if the light bulb is to spark for a player like Bullard, it could turn the two into an even bigger platoon. Especially if the team gets to a point where 2018 becomes more important than wins in 2017. Still, the best bet is that Unrein finishes off giving a solid 20-30 snaps per game.