When referencing the 2020 Chicago Bears draft class, all of the conversations center around three names. Cole Kmet was the first pick of the group. Jaylon Johnson for being its top performer at cornerback last season and Darnell Mooney for being its biggest surprise. That didn’t really change when training camp began last week. However, over the past few days it’s becoming clear that somebody else might be ready to join that conversation. Outside linebacker Trevis Gipson.

For those who need a quick refresher, Gipson was the defensive end out of Tulsa the Bears took in the 5th round. The one they traded their 4th round pick in 2021 to secure. GM Ryan Pace said the team was exceedingly high on him at the time. Somebody with a tall ceiling in terms of physical talent. He was somebody who just hadn’t been used correctly. Given a chance to shift towards outside linebacker, they felt he’d unlock something more.

Unfortunately, last season proved difficult for him.

COVID-19 wiped out OTAs, minicamps, and the preseason. Reps that would’ve proven valuable for a rookie like Gipson. So when the season began, he didn’t see a lot of playing time. Not until the five third of the year did he see his first real action. It was predictably a quiet run with no sacks. He did have three quarterback knockdowns though and there were glimpses of a capable pass rusher in there.

Maybe a full offseason in 2021 might do wonders for him. Based on the past couple of days, that is proving true. It seems like Gipson’s name pops up quite often when the pass rush is involved. He’s getting into the backfield a lot, flashing improved technique and greater quickness. Two things he needed to work on coming out of college.

Trevis Gipson emerging couldn’t be timed better

The Bears have lingering concerns about the health situations of both starters. Khalil Mack wasn’t 100% much of last season while Robert Quinn reportedly dealt with foot drop. Now he’s trying to manage a back issue that still plagues him since June. This makes the depth at outside linebacker pivotal. Gipson emerging along with the arrival of veteran Jeremiah Attaochu suddenly gives them more flexibility. Not to mention the ever-reliable presence of James Vaughters.

This is the kind of development the Bears were hoping for. The next step is to see whether Trevis Gipson can transfer it from practice to games. That makes the preseason pretty big for him. It will be his first in the NFL and figures to see plenty of action with Mack and Quinn unlikely to play much. If he can deliver some strong performances, he could see his playing time spike in a big way.

It would be a huge boost.

Chicago is going to play some really good quarterbacks this season including Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Baker Mayfield, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matthew Stafford among others. They will need their pass rush to be active in those games or winning won’t be a possibility. Gipson becoming a contributor helps the cause.

Erik Lambert
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.