With training camp rolling along, I decided to bring you this edition of 5 Bears players that have been pretty impressive in camp and have really worked hard this offseason. These are 5 under-the-radar players that may be proned for a big season and since they are yet to have a big season-at least a big season for the Bears- we'll call this big season for them a breakout season. Here they are:
Major Wright(Safety): When the Bears drafted Wright in the 3rd round of the 2010 NFL Draft, many people thought that he would be a big steal for the Bears. Wright was showing a lot of promise in training camp last year and in the beginning of the preseason before he got hurt in the preseason and then went down again in Week 2 with a hamstring injury that costed him 5 games. However, he ended his rookie campaign strong when he recorded 7 tackles in the NFC Championship Game. Wright worked hard during the lockout with the Chiefs' Eric Berry, who was the top safety in Wright's draft class. Bears coaches have quickly noticed the improvement in Wright's game which is important conidering that he will take over for the departed Danieal Manning at free safety. Early in camp, he picked off a Jay Cutler pass and took it back for six, pointing to the back of his jersey in the end zone. Yup, those quarterbacks had better be remembering his name.
Prediction: 70+ tackles, 4-5 interceptions
Henry Melton(Defensive Tackle): When he came into the league in 2009, he was listed just at 255 pounds. Two years later, he's almost 300 pounds after adding 20 pounds of muscle in each of his two offseasons.Last year, he found his way into the DT rotation and made the most of it, recording 19 tackles and 2.5 sacks as a part-time player. Now he's gettting first team reps in traing camp, making him the favorite to win the 3T position ahead of rookie Stephen Paea, newcomer Amobi Okoye, and Matt Toeania and playing next to NT Anthony Adams. He could become the pass rushing DT the Bears need.
Prediction: 35+ tackles, 7-8 sacks
Nick Roach(Linebacker): The Bears decided to re-sign the former Northwestern standout and it dosent seem like they will bring back the injury-prone Pisa Tinoisamoa. Even if the Bears do bring in a veteran LB like Lofa Tatupu, Roach is still likely to be the starting strong-side linebacker alongside Pro Bowlers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. He has shown plenty of promise and improvement over his 4 years, and last year spelled Tinoisamoa for the starting job late in the season. But his big year came in 2009 when he started 15 games at middle and strong-side linbacker due to season ending injuries to Urlacher and Tinoisamoa. He recorded 80+ tackles and a couple of sacks. The Bears are hoping he can become a consistent third LB next to Briggs and Urlacher.
Prediction: 90+ tackles, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Roy Williams(Wide Reciever): Because of the lockout, the Bears decided it would be too risky to bring in a reciever that has no ties to te system, so they decided to bring in the 6-3 Williams, who was a Pro Bowler in 2006 while playing in Mike Martz's offense with the Lions. Although he had three bad years in Dallas, the Bears believed that he could become the #1 WR they need and he has lived up to it so far in camp. He has already developed a strong chemistry with Cutler and is faster than most people expected. The 29-year-old Williams hasn't shown signs of fatigue and seems ready to revive his career in Chicago.
Prediction: 70+ receptions, 1150 yards, 7 touchdowns
J'Marcus Webb(Offensive Tackle): A 2010 7th-round pick out of West Texas A&M, many saw plenty of potential for the 6-7, 333 pound Webb, but it was said that he would need a couple of years to develop. Yet he got his first start in Week 5 of his rooke season. While he struggled early on, he improved in the second half of the season. He worked a lot during the offseason and has impressed O-line coack Mike Tice. Now, he is expected to protect Jay Cutler's blind side on the left side. With a handful of strong pass rushers in the NFC North, Webb will be counted on to improve an O-line that was the worst in the NFL in 2010.