This last week at Windy City Gridiron, Ken and myself each took a look at the youngsters on the Chicago Bears. Ken gave us his First Half Report Card On Ryan Pace Draft Picks & UDFAs, where he graded all the rookies acquired by Pace during his two years on the job and I talked about the 2016 rookies in my latest podcast, T Formation Conversation.
With the 2016 NFL season eight games old, NFL.com took a mid-season look at the top 25 first year pros playing in the league today. Even though the Bears made just one selection in the first 55 picks, they placed three players on the list.
Number nine overall selection Leonard Floyd, who was missing form their quarter pole rankings, checked in at number 21 this time. Here’s what they had to say about Chicago’s outside linebacker.
After a quiet start to the season, Floyd has begun to become a disruptive force for the Bears. He's currently third among rookies with 3.5 sacks.
Floyd missed two games this season with a calf strain, and three of his sacks came in the last two weeks. The bye week comes at a perfect time to ensure his calf is closer to 100%.
Running back Jordan Howard, a 5th round pick (150th pick overall), is the 2nd RB listed and he checked in at #12. Howard is up 11 spots from their previous rankings.
Howard has really come on over the last few weeks. He looks every bit like a feature running back. His ability to make plays in the passing game has been a pleasant surprise.
Howard, on pace for a thousand yard season and just named NFC offensive player of the week, has an outside shot at rookie of the year if he continues racking up impressive stats.
It’ll be tough to beat out the dynamic rookie duo of the Dallas Cowboys, but maybe Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott split the vote and Howard sneaks through. “Everybody is going to opt for one of the Cowboys (Zeke or Dak),” says Adam Rank in NFL.com’s mid-season prediction article, “so give me a chance to stump for Howard, who is the next stud in the long line of great Bears running backs.”
The third Bears’ rookie listed, center Cody Whitehair (56th overall pick), checks in at #9, same as his quarter-pole ranking.
Whitehair has quickly emerged as one of the top centers in the NFC. He has stabilized the position for the Bears and continues to improve each and every week.
Whitehair has improved week to week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him playing in the Pro Bowl this year.