Chicago Bears End of season evaluation: Nick Kwiatkowski
How did Nick Kwiatkowski 2017 play out compared to expectations
With the Chicago Bears season now over, it is a good chance to see who met or exceeded or failed to meet expectations in 2017. For this edition, we take a look at Nick Kwiatkowski.
After seeing some playing time the season before, the idea was that Kwiatkowski can be brought in for year two and looked at as a valuable depth piece. He was going to come in behind Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan on the depth chart and would hold down special teams while growing behind two prized linebackers.
In the first week of the season, the season ended for Freeman. This obviously opened a huge role for Kwiatkowski to step into. Unfortunately for him, early in his first start of the season, a similar injury to Freeman put Kwiatkowski on the sideline from week three through eight. Over that time, Christian Jones began to get comfortable in the role of replacing Freeman. However, with Danny Trevathan now hurt, Kwiatkowski was thrown back into the fire from week nine through 11. In week 12, when Trevathan came back, Kwiatkowski was back being the third man in line, this time behind Trevathan and Jones. However, that was a short-lived benching, and Kwiatkowski stepped in for Jones in week 13 and finished out the year as a starter. Overall, he looked like a starter in his chances and has hopes high for 2018.
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Kwiatkowski is never going to be a playmaking, dynamic athlete. However, he shined over Jones and looked more in control when it comes to keeping himself and others in place than Jones. Jones is a free agent this offseason, and the team is likely to move on from Freeman. This opens the door for Kwiatkowski to take over as a starter in 2018.