Key free agent signings:
Top Impact Rookies:
Leonard Floyd is a first-round pick with a lean frame. At 6’6, 244 pounds, he is thin for a OLB, but has the speed to make up for it. He has the potential to be a great pass-rusher with an explosive first step and great movement skills for a tall, lanky player. His athleticism and agility could help him make an immediate impact, but he needs to pack on some pounds. As a top-ten pick, there is a lot of pressure to immediately spring into action.
Second-round pick Cody Whitehair should be ready to step in as a crucial player. He will most likely be starting at left guard from the beginning of the season. As a four-year starter at Kansas State, Whitehair has a good work ethic and earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2015. He is a big guy, weighing in at 301 pounds, but has the upper body strength and balance to remain in control of his body. He is ready to be a starter and performed well during minicamp.
Biggest offseason addition:
Trevathan, a former Broncos starter, is a great addition for the Chicago Bears. He started in Super Bowl 50 and helped his team beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10, with a team high 8 tackles. Trevathan knows what it takes to be a playoff contender and win it all. He finished last season with 73 tackles after missing the majority of the previous season due to a fractured knee. As a versatile linebacker, he is a good run-defender and is known for his ability to make good plays with a high football IQ. He has a lot of potential and is able to force pressure in man-to-man coverage.
Most intriguing storyline heading into training camp:
ESPN named the Bears as the one of the six most improved NFL teams for their improvements on defense with a combo of great linebackers. The addition of first-round pick Leonard Floyd and linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman helped seal the rebuilding process. DL Eddie Goldman is a big guy, weighing in at 320 pounds and should make an immediate impact, along with Akiem Hicks, who will add some size and versatility to the Bears defense.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:
After a two year run with the Atlanta Falcons, Devin Hester has been released from the team. Some fans are excited about the news as they are hoping the former Bear will return to Chicago to finish out his NFL career. He made a big impact playing for the Bears, leaving a mark on their fan base who grew to love him. He has been selected to 4 Pro Bowls and set an NFL record with 20 total return touchdowns. Fans are hoping to acquire the free agent, but he is now approaching a decline at 33 years old.
Key Injuries heading into training camp:
As the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, the Bears had high hopes for WR Kevin White. However, he missed his entire rookie year due to a shin related injury. White was a highly anticipated pick coming out of West Virginia. He is 6’3, 215 pounds and ran a 4.35 40-yard dash. Although he has not played a game in the NFL yet, his college career was extremely successful. He finished his senior year with 109 receptions for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns. He looked good at OTAs and if he develops rapport with Jay Cutler, it will be a fun duo to watch this season.