One thing Bears fans have learned about Phil Emery during his time in charge of the Bears roster, other than his very thorough approach to the draft and other decisions, is he desires rare athletic ability in his players above most other things.
This has been apparent in his draft picks; Shea McClellin, Brandon Hardin, Alshon Jeffery and Evan Rodriguez for example. Emery wants to have a team with mismatches, speed and athleticism all lining up on his side of the ball to get a leg up on the opposition.
Last season Emery's draft class had the speed and athleticism, but there was not too much of an impact felt by them when they hit the field. Only three of Emery's six picks actually saw the field last year as Greg McCoy and Isaiah Frey were cut (although Frey found his way back to the practice squad) and third-round pick Brandon Hardin was placed on injured reserve.
First round pick Shea McClellin never broke the starting line-up but became a third down pass rusher and racked up 2.5 sacks.
Evan Rodriguez became the starting fullback and blocked well and helped open up holes for Matt Forte in the run game but E-Rod was never given any other role in the offense and racked up only four receptions for 21 yards.
Alshon Jeffery had the largest impact of the 2012 rookie class, he played in 10 games and caught caught 24 passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns. Hardly earth-shattering rookie numbers but when Jeffery was injured, his presence was missed.
This was all under the watch of a head coach who had a long history of playing rookies. During his tenure with the Bears coach Lovie Smith had no problem throwing his rookies into the ring (for better or worse) and letting them learn by doing. From Kyle Orton to Chris Harris, to Kevin Payne, Al Afalava and Matt Forte, Smith let his rookies get in the mix.
It is still unknown how Marc Trestman will play his rookies, but it is likely that if he thinks they know the system, he'll let them see the field.
Rookie minicamp begins this weekend and then another full-team camp picks up next week, so which rookies will have an early shot at starting and getting quality reps this season should be apparent soon.
So which of the 2013 rookie class has the best shot at getting playing time?
First round pick Kyle Long? Depending on how quickly he can pick up the playbook and how he catches up to playing against NFL talent after such a short time at major college football-level, he figures to be in the mix at guard.
Second round pick Jonathan Bostic and fourth round pick Khaseem Greene could both see the field on special teams but could get playing time on defense, but they could have a hard time beating out veteran teammates Lance Briggs, D.J. Williams and James Anderson.
Fifth round pick Jordan Mills talked a big game in his post-draft press conference but provided he can back it up he could earn playing time at one of the guard spots this year, but that seems unlikely with Matt Slauson and a first round pick among those in the mix for a starting job.
Sixth round pick Cornelius Washington is probably the least-likely rookie to make an impact on paper but the defensive system in place relies heavily on defensive line rotation so while he might not earn starts, he could see a lot of game day reps and get a chance to display his athleticism on third downs.
Finally, seventh round pick Marquess Wilson could have a role on offense as there is a slight void at wide receiver behind Brandon Marshall, Jeffery and Earl Bennett. Wilson could be in the mix as the fourth guy along with Eric Weems and practice squad/special teams players like Joe Anderson, Brittan Golden and Terence Toliver.
So now it's up to you guys, which rookie will have the biggest impact this season?