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Pernell McPhee #66 on the PFF Top 101 was tops in pass rushing productivity among all edge rushers

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After Alshon Jeffery placed #88 on the Pro Football Focus Top 101 player of 2015 I figured we'd seen the last of the Chicago Bears. There just weren't many other individual performances that I thought would crack their list.

Imagine my surprise when outside linebacker Pernall McPhee ended up at 66th overall.

He had 12 starts in 14 games, missing the two with a balky knee. He also was no where near 100% in a handful of the games he did play in. He did pick up his 1st career interception in 2015, but his 6 sacks and 42 tackles were underwhelming for a guy that signed for nearly $40 million over five years.

I thought he brought a certain swagger to the Bears' defense, but his knee was problematic off and on all year. I wouldn't necessarily say he had a bad year, it's just that the Bears needed more from him. Hopefully with more talent around him, offenses will be forced to pick their poison when gameplanning against Chicago's D.

Here's what PFF had to say about McPhee.

Chicago's acquisition of McPhee in the 2015 offseason was likely - €”albeit with little fanfare - ”the best free-agency move of the year. In his first season as a Bear, he performed well as a pass-rusher and against the run. He notched 67 total pressures and 24 defensive stops, and brought exactly the kind of aggression and impact plays that the Chicago defense was crying out for. This marks two very fine seasons in a row now for McPhee, who will lead an interesting re-built Bears defense in 2016.

Best performance: Week 4 versus Oakland: +6.2

Key stat: McPhee's 16.5 pass-rushing productivity was first among all NFL edge defenders.

Well then.

If the Bears can get a consistent push from the other side, maybe McPhee gets home on some of those pressures and stacks some sacks in 2016.

With all the talent the Bears have added to the defense this offseason, it's easy to forget about McPhee. I think he brings the attitude and the leadership (he was voted a team captain in 2015) that this unit needs.