Block or Not: Nick Kwiatkoski

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 19: Matthew Stafford
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 19: Matthew Stafford /

As we continue to examine the Chicago Bears’ roster, we look at Nick Kwiatkoski and how he may fit into the team’s plans.

Nick Kwiatkoski’s time may be arriving, and sooner than anyone originally expected. Kwiatkoski is entering his third year with the Chicago Bears, a year where GM Ryan Pace most likely originally expected him to be a rotational player still. When Kwiatkoski originally was drafted, the Bears had just signed Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman and everyone expected that combo to handle the Bears’ ILB duties for at least three years.

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Trevathan is still here and doesn’t appear to be headed anywhere anytime soon, but it does appear that Freeman’s time in Chicago is up after only 13 games over two seasons and two PED suspensions.

That means there’s an opening for a starting ILB next to Trevathan and Kwiatkoski appears to be the front-runner for the job. Christian Jones will push for the job in camp and it’s always possible the Bears could draft or sign another inside backer, but the team still has enough legitimate holes on the roster that trying to fill one that’s may not even exist seems like a waste of resources.

Kwiatkoski has shown a nose for the football, he can make plays, and does an excellent job defending the run. Kwiatkoski has been successful in pass coverage, but his play there is inconsistent at best and needs improvement.

The only way Kwiatkoski is going to get better is playing. Kwiatkoski has started 13 games for the Bears in two seasons. He would have started more if it wasn’t for a pectoral injury that sidelined him for part of last year. He’s tallied 87 total tackles with 3 sacks and 4 passes defended over his first two seasons. Not bad for someone still learning on the job.

The smart money is on Kwiatkoski to start this year. While he still needs to prove himself that he’s a viable starting linebacker at the NFL level, right now, those odds are trending towards yes. If Kwiatkoski can stay on the field this year, fans should expect him to take a couple of steps forward and prove he’s a player that should be  part of this Bears’ defense for the he next several years.

Nick Kwiatkoski: Block or Not? BLOCK