Tyrique Stevenson is going to be one of the Bears' best defensive playmakers
The Packers were without budding star receiver Christian Watson on Sunday. Jordan Love still excelled, though, in large part because the Bears defensive front failed to pressure him all day. This makes it difficult to evaluate the secondary, but Tyrique Stevenson looked like he belonged in his first NFL game.
Stevenson made the first big play of the game, a crunching tackle for loss on an option pitch to the Packers' Jayden Reed early in the first quarter. He finished with an impressive six tackles (five solo), while holding down the #2 cornerback spot for Chicago opposite Jaylon Johnson.
Stevenson is a physical, aggressive, risk-taking cornerback, and that's just what this team needs. The Packers had their way on third down, and I fear most teams will find similar success. It's imperative then, that the Bears take chances to force turnovers, and Stevenson will do just that.
The rookie cornerback was beaten by Romeo Doubs on a stop-fade at the goal line, but that's a play that is nigh unstoppable if the quarterback throws it in the right place. Jordan Love did just that, so even though Stevenson was positioned well, Doubs was able to secure it for a touchdown.
Zacch Pickens helped limit the damage Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon inflicted on the ground
Zacch Pickens lived up to his reputation coming out of college as a premier run stuffer, teaming with defensive tackle Andrew Billings to hold the Packers to less than three yards per carry.
Pickens failed to record a tackle, but his work upfront set up Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards to combine for 22 tackles on the day.
Despite his proficiency against the run, Pickens didn't show much as a pass rusher, earning only a 57.0 PFF grade in that department. The Bears have a real dearth of interior linemen that can get to the passer though, so Pickens will have the chance to improve on the fly as the season goes on.
There are other rookies on the Bears roster, most notably defensive lineman Gervon Dexter, linebacker Noah Sewell, and backup quarterback Tyson Bagent, but none were given a chance to stand out on Sunday. We'll continue monitoring their progress as the season continues, along with the five players mentioned above.
Given how ugly the game got in Week 1, it's difficult to find a silver lining in Halas Hall, but the Bears' rookies provided just that. Ryan Poles was praised by most for his showing in the NFL Draft this past April, and Sunday's performances show that maybe the draft analysts were right. There's a long way to go for these players, but Bears fans should be excited at this bumper crop of young talent wearing navy and orange.