5 breakout candidates for the Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears, Jaylon Johnson
Chicago Bears, Jaylon Johnson / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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The Chicago Bears are expecting to take some big steps as a team in 2023. The roster is certainly better than the group that ended with the first overall pick, but they still need some players to step up and break out in their roles.

Who are the players that could help the Chicago Bears take that next step with a breakout season?

5. Jaylon Johnson could earn a big pay day with a few tweaks

Last season was a down season for Jaylon Johnson. Still, we all know the pass rush was terrible, and it certainly impacted Johnson. Beyond that, the Chicago Bears were asking Jaylon Johnson to work in the slot, resulting in a massive chunk of his yards allowed. Without the slot snaps, Johnson actually had a fine year.

So, the first reason to think Johnson will be better in 2023 is that he will be playing just one side and will not be asked to follow wideouts. Still, that does not warrant a breakout. What merits a breakout is an explosion of interceptions. It is possible.

Jaylon Johnson has one career interception. However, he has 31 career passes defended, and he is one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL at breaking up passes. So, he is getting his hands on the football, he just is not bringing in the interceptions. This feels like something that could turn quickly, considering he is already in the right spot often. A minor tweak could lead to a heap of those passes defended turning into interceptions.

When you add that he will be more comfortable on his side and the pass rush has to improve, it could be a big year for Johnson. Fans will be okay with a cornerback who is not an elite pressman player who can follow guys around if he can bring in some interceptions to make up for it. If Jaylon Johnson can do that, he can start to get talk about being a potential number.