When the Chicago Bears plucked Jonathan Bullard in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, it was met with near unanimous praise. Pro Football Focus said, “To find a defensive lineman with Bullard's upside in the third round is ridiculous value.” CBSSports.com said Bullard was Chicago’s “surest” selection, adding he has “the combination of burst and power to play just about anywhere along the defensive line for the Bears.”
But his rookie season didn’t go as planned, with his lowest point being a December benching, brought on because the coaches wanted to see “a little more” from him. Bullard vowed to make a positive out of his setback. “You definitely have to use it as motivation. I definitely gotta go out and prove something that obviously they haven’t seen yet, and make the most out of whatever I get.”
In 2016, he was 4th on the team in playing time among defensive lineman at 27.6%, and with the recent addition of defensive lineman Jaye Howard, Bullard will have his work cut out for him if he wants to prove worthy of having a bigger role on the d-line rotation. Chicago did lose Cornelius Washington to free agency, so there will be reps to earn if he can.
Back In February, in my roster turnover series, I wrote that Bullard has the potential to start at defensive end for the 2017 Bears, but we’ll have to wait and see how he attacks the offseason. And it’s so far, so good for the former Florida Gator, as he’s being assisted by another former Gator, who also happens to be an ex Bear, Alex Brown.
Check out this video of Bullard working out that Brown shared.
All Pro Sports Performance is based out of nearby, Gurnee, Illinois, and besides Brown, former Bears’ Adrian Peterson and Jason McKie are also trainers.
Are you guys expecting Bullard’s play to take a jump in year two of his pro career?