Core of Chicago Bears' defense gets national recognition in latest power rankings

Atlanta Falcons v Chicago Bears
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There is a growing sense that the Chicago Bears' defense will be among the best units in the NFL entering the 2024 season.

The Bears' defense is a large part of the reason why the team won seven games last season and it would the core of the defense at each level features players who should be under consideration for Pro-Bowl honors.

Sports Illustrated's Gilberto Manzano is among those impressed with the players that the Bears have each level as he ranked the team's trio of Montez Sweat, TJ Edward, and Jaylon Johnson as the seventh-best defensive triplet across the entire league.

"Triplets: Montez Sweat, T.J. Edwards, Jaylon Johnson

The Bears took a risk by signing linebackers Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds to lucrative contracts during last year’s free agency. Many teams stopped splurging on inside linebackers, but coach Matt Eberflus’s scheme runs better with talented off-ball linebackers, which was evident in 2023. Edwards had the better season over Edmunds, earning the nod to form this impressive trio with Sweat and Johnson. "

Sports Illustrated

TJ Edwards has proven to be the better of the two free-agent linebacker signings that the Bears made prior to the 2023 season. While Tremaine Edmunds was able to turn his season around during the second half, Edwards remained an anchor for the Bears at the linebacker position,

Montez Sweat's arrival in-season last year is what accelerated the rise of the Bears' defense. The issue with the defensive line is that if Sweat does go down with an injury, the team's ability to generate a pass-rush will be severely limited.

Johnson, after signing a four-year extension with the team, remains the overall leader of the Bears' defense. Behind Johnson, the Bears' secondary is in a great spot with Jaquan Brisker, Tyrique Stevenson, and Kyler Gordon all being ascending players.