The Chicago Bears didn’t have a great season last year. While no one expected a 3-14 record, it wasn’t hard to understand why they struggled. General manager Ryan Poles basically hit the reset button, delisting all expensive contracts and older veterans. He wanted to build the list his way. That meant focusing on the draft and only entering free agency for players on the younger side who fit the vision of head coach Matt Eberflus and his coaching staff. After a second offseason concluded, optimism is high for 2023.
It feels like the Bears have assembled a roster full of youth, speed and athleticism. While dreaming of the playoffs may seem premature, it’s hard not to see this group taking a big step up the win column. Several players are poised to have strong seasons as familiarity with the offensive and defensive systems grows. Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton went a step further. When determining which NFL players have the best shot at making the All-Pro rankings this year, he sees a Bears player as the leading candidate.
That’s newcomer Tremaine Edmunds.
“Although the 25-year-old hasn’t earned any accolades in the last two terms, he has come a long way in pass coverage. Last year, he allowed a 69.9 passer rating, which is his best in a single season, without allowing a touchdown.
This offseason, Edmunds signed with the Chicago Bears, where he will play under head coach Matt Eberflus and defensive coordinator Alan Williams.
As defensive coordinator, Eberflus coached Shaquille Leonard, who made the 2018 All-Pro list his rookie year. The former Indianapolis Colts playcaller also helped turn linebackers Bobby Okereke and Anthony Walker Jr. into high-level starters.
The Colts selected Okereke and Walker in the third and fifth rounds, respectively. If Eberflus can turn a couple of midfield players into quality starters, he should be able to turn Edmunds, a 2018 first-rounder, into a star player.”
The Chicago Bears still see untapped potential in Edmunds.
No one can argue that the linebacker has had a very successful career up to this point. He made two Pro Bowls with the Buffalo Bills and was a key part of their defense, finishing first or second in points allowed in three of the past four seasons. He is still only 24 years old. The belief is that Eberflus, a former linebacker and linebackers coach, has the experience to elevate Edmunds to his all-time best level. His Tampa-2 defensive system is among the friendliest in football for that position. Brian Urlacher can attest to this. He too reached the pinnacle of his career once Lovie Smith came along with the scheme in the mid-2000s.
In his coaching career, Eberflus has brought out the best in several middle linebackers. It’s scary that Edmunds is more talented than all of them by a wide margin. There are very few players in the NFL with a 6’5 frame and 4.5 speed. He has the size to take on offensive linemen, but also the speed to get into coverage. His 34-inch arms also make casting over or around him extremely difficult. If he fits into this defense like he should, then the All-Pro prediction isn’t far-fetched.