Chicago Bears: The only player to be recognized on Pro Football Focus’ All-Pro team

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

As we head into Week 5 of the 2021 NFL season, Pro Football Focus (PFF) recently released their first-quarter All-Pro Team. With a 17-game schedule this season, it’s not quite the first quarter of the season, but it’s close enough and too difficult to divide the year out now with an odd number of games. The Chicago Bears extra game comes on the road this week versus the Las Vegas Raiders.

PFF went through their rankings (I know, those rankings are not the greatest or more accurate) and determined which players deserved to be recognized at each position as a first-team player while giving a notable mention as a second-team player. With how poorly the Chicago Bears have played this year, I did not expect to see anyone on the first-team list, let alone the second-team list.

Jaylon Johnson is the only Chicago Bears player to make this PFF list

I could make the case for some individual performers such as David Montgomery, Robert Quinn, and Roquan Smith. The name I left off that shortlist was Jaylon Johnson. Johnson is indeed the player who PFF chose to be on their first-quarter All-Pro team. He was not an alternate either, he made the first-team defense.

Johnson is in some good company — company we will see firsthand in on Sunday as the Chicago Bears face the Raiders. Casey Hayward was the other corner listed on the first-team, but noted as the second-team option is Hayward’s teammate Nate Hobbs.

Pro Football Focus had this to say about Jaylon Johnson:

"Johnson was arguably the best rookie cornerback last season, but that was a pretty low bar to clear, and he ended the year with just a 54.9 overall PFF grade. He has built on those encouraging signs in Year 2 and is allowing a lowly 42.7 passer rating, locking down his man in the Chicago defense."

This is actually quite funny to me. The fact that Johnson received such a low grade last year is further proof that we should take these grades with a grain of salt. That said, the site’s stat tracking is like not many others out there.

Last season, Jaylon Johnson finished the season with 15 pass deflections in 13 games. This was good enough to be tied for ninth in the league despite missing three games. Johnson also only allowed 56.4% of the balls thrown in his direction to be completed. His downfall was giving up five touchdowns, but sometimes that is misleading. This year, he has only allowed a 42.9% completion percentage and has not allowed any touchdowns.

Johnson did not record an interception in his rookie season, but he has one on the year in 2021. He also has six pass deflections (passes defensed) this year, which is tied for second-most in the league at this point. Clearly, the sophomore corner is proving his worth and making Ryan Pace look good with this pick too. Johnson was one reason why the Bears felt like they could move on from Kyle Fuller if he didn’t take a pay cut.

This defense has been up and down this season. However, they have some good things going for them. Kindle Vildor needs to start playing more consistently on the opposite side of Johnson, but the team leads the NFL in sacks. I’d like to see more takeaways, but as long as they keep getting pressure, those takeaways will come.

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Maybe now that Justin Fields is the official starter, we will start to see some players on the offense step up their game. Had Darnell Mooney played as well as he did last week throughout the first three weeks, he may have been listed here too. Who knows, with how many explosive plays we saw last week (albeit against the Lions), maybe even Justin Fields cracks the second-quarter list.

For now, these lists mean very little but make for some great discussion and debates.