The Chicago Bears didn’t have a great season last year. While nobody expected a 3-14 record, it wasn’t hard to understand why they struggled. GM Ryan Poles basically hit the reset button, gutting the roster of every expensive contract and older veteran. He wished to build the roster his way. That meant focusing on the draft and only dabbling in free agency for players on the younger side that fit the vision of head coach Matt Eberflus and his coaching staff. After a second off-season has concluded, optimism is high for 2023.
It feels like the Bears have pieced together a roster brimming with youth, speed, and athleticism. While dreaming about the playoffs might seem premature, it is hard not seeing this group taking a big step forward in the win column. Several players are poised to have good seasons as familiarity with the offensive and defensive systems grows. Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report took it a step further. When determining which NFL players have the best chance to crack the All-Pro ranks this year, he sees one Bears player as a prime candidate.
That is new arrival Tremaine Edmunds.
“Though the 25-year-old didn’t earn any accolades over the past two terms, he’s made strides in pass coverage. Last year, he allowed a 69.9 passer rating, which is his best mark for a single season, without giving up a touchdown.
This offseason, Edmunds signed with the Chicago Bears, where he’ll play under head coach Matt Eberflus and defensive coordinator Alan Williams.
As a defensive coordinator, Eberflus coached Shaquille Leonard, who made the 2018 All-Pro roster in his rookie year. The former Indianapolis Colts play-caller also helped mold linebackers Bobby Okereke and Anthony Walker Jr. into high-level starters.
The Colts drafted Okereke and Walker in the third and fifth rounds, respectively. If Eberflus can develop a couple of middle-rounders into quality starters, he should be able to shape Edmunds, a 2018 first-rounder, into a star player.”
The Chicago Bears still see untapped potential in Edmunds.
Nobody can argue the linebacker has had a highly successful career to this point. He made two Pro Bowls with the Buffalo Bills and was a critical part of their defense finishing 1st or 2nd 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 himself, has the expertise necessary to elevate Edmunds to his absolute best. His Tampa-2 defensive system is among the friendliest in football to that position. Brian Urlacher can attest to this. He, too, reached his career peak once Lovie Smith arrived with the scheme in the mid-2000s.
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In his coaching career, Eberflus has gotten the best out of several middle linebackers. It is scary that Edmunds is more talented than all of them by a wide margin. There are precious 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 drop into coverage. His 34-inch arms also make throwing above or around him extremely difficult. If he fits into this defense the way he should, then the All-Pro prediction is not farfetched.