With a new head coach and some new faces on the Chicago Bears roster this season, the Bears could be looking at the 2013 rookie class as a difference maker.
There are a few key positions that the Bears might have to rely on rookies to fill and play well. That includes first round draft pick Kyle Long who many questioned the pick when the Bears selected him in the first round.
So far it’s been good for Long.
Long has received his opportunity to play and has played well so far. However it’s only preseason and the Bears would like to see Long play better throughout the regular season. Especially since it looks like Long could be a starter right away on the Bears offensive line.
The Bears offensive line has struggled over the past few seasons and now management is trying to fix it, and fix it quick. The first step in doing that was brining in free agent Jermon Bushrod to help stabilize the line. The next step was finding youth in the draft to potentially build around. Something the team has failed to do over recent years.
In the recent past the Bears have struck out on high draft picks like Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi. The team hopes that Kyle Long can be a foundation to a steady offensive line in the future.
Protecting quarterback Jay Cutler should be the Bears number one priority and could lead to a successful season for the Bears. It all starts with the offensive line playing well.
Thats where Kyle Long and Jordan Mills enter the picture.
Both Long and Mills have received extra reps on the offensive line this training camp and preseason and both have looked impressive. The pressure is higher on Long however seeing that he was the Bears first round draft pick.
Long is making a strong case to be a starter come week one where as Mills, a fifth-round pick, looks like he could make a case to receive playing time and possibly a starting job.
With the offensive line needing to play well, these two rookies could be big keys to a successful offense. If the Bears can get solid play from Long and Mills it could go a long way to a start in the right direction.
Switching over to the defensive side of the ball the Bears are looking to replace future hall of fame linebacker Brian Urlacher who retired in the off-season.
It won’t be easy but the Bears have certainly addressed the position by adding veteran free agent D.J Williams who was supposed to fill in right away at middle linebacker. As a training camp injury sidelined Williams, 2013 second-round pick Jon Bostic got his chance to show what he can do.
Bostic has been impressive since the start of training camp and could earn himself the middle linebacker position come week one. In two preseason games, Bostic has recorded an interception which he returned for a touchdown and has made a few nice reads against the offense.
While the Bears don’t expect Bostic to fill Urlacher’s shoes right away, the rookie could be a major impact on a Bears defense who needs to have a good season this year.
This season Long, Mills and Bostic could play a role in the Bears success. However, they are only rookies and the mistakes will come. In the long run, we could look back at the 2013 NFL Draft and say it had a good impact on the Chicago Bears.