Block or Not: Jonathan Bullard

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 16: Detroit Lions running back Tion Green
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 16: Detroit Lions running back Tion Green /

We take a closer look at defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard and if he fits into the Chicago Bears future plans.

There was no one that follows the Chicago Bears that was higher on the selection of Jonathan Bullard than yours truly. I thought Bullard was an absolute steal in the third round of the draft and thought with certainty that he would be an immediate impact player. Not only did I expect Bullard to start, but I thought Bullard would be the best player out of the Bears’ 2016 draft class.

Through two seasons, that has not been the case.

Bullard had a sub-par rookie season and even was a healthy scratch towards the end of the year. Entering his second year, the coaching staff spoke highly of Bullard after he really dedicated himself in the offseason.

With higher expectations coming into year two, Bullard improved but still didn’t beat out Mitch Unrein for the starting spot on the team. Towards the end of the year, Bullard made some nice plays on the defense but certainly didn’t put together any full games that were overly impressive.

Bullard has a lightning quick first step and has had two dominant preseasons, but when the speed jumps to “regular season” speed, Bullard doesn’t make the plays like he does in August. Bullard did improve from year one to year two and could show significant improvement again in year three. With two years left under contract, Bullard still has time to prove he’s worth keeping on the roster.

But let’s be fair, the Bears should absolutely commit to Akiem Hicks (who they already have) and Eddie Goldman (could be extended this offseason) before they consider committing to Bullard. Does it make cap sense for the Bears to commit to another defensive lineman while running Vic Fangio’s scheme? It probably makes more sense to use rotational-level players that are more affordable combined with rookie-contract players to fill out the defensive line. With critical pieces that need to be paid at a higher price at other positions on the field, committing to a third defensive lineman, who right now, doesn’t appear to be close to the level of Hicks or Goldman, doesn’t make cap sense for Ryan Pace and the Bears.

Jonathan Bullard: Block or Not? NOT