Luckily for them, both Josh Sitton and Jordan Howard got a chance to play after they replaced T.J. Lang and David Johnson, respectively. This year, though, the Bears may not have to wait for injury to see their players in the Pro Bowl.
The game itself doesn't have nearly as much prestige as it used to. The voting has basically turned into a glorified popularity contest, thanks largely in part to the fact that fans still have a say in who enters the game. Nevertheless, it's still an honor to be named to the roster.
Even though the Bears aren't expected to do well this year, they still have a solid amount of Pro Bowl-caliber talent. These players below are the most realistic options.
Honorable Mentions: Akiem Hicks, Pernell McPhee, Quintin Demps
While these three players are very talented in their own right, they likely won't make the Pro Bowl next year. Why? Because they simply aren't flashy enough.
Akiem Hicks is a talent worthy of a Pro Bowl nomination, but he doesn't have the eye-opening stats that most voters look for. Granted, he is a 3-4 defensive end, but in that lies the problem. Because his job isn't as focused on rushing the passer as 4-3 defensive ends, it will take a huge season for him to get the nod.
Pernell McPhee is also a force of nature, but his impact isn't completely shown through his stats. He was one of the league's most dominant edge rushers in 2015, but he only had six sacks. Hence, he wasn't voted into the Pro Bowl.
Quintin Demps could be a possible addition, but he will need to repeat his successes from last year to do so. His name value isn't on par with the league's elite safeties, so he'll have to rely on production to make the Pro Bowl.
Jerrell Freeman was likely well on his way to the first Pro Bowl nod of his career before his suspension came. He was among the league's leaders in tackles for most of the season. Even though he missed four games, he still managed to finish in the top 25 in the league in that category.
Freeman was an absolute force last season. He was dominant in the run game and was effective dropping back in coverage, as well. Barring injury (or another suspension), he is more than likely to make the Pro Bowl this year.
The national media has criminally underrated Jordan Howard as of late. Although rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott took the league by storm last year, Howard's rookie campaign was equally as impressive.
Howard managed to finish second in the league in rushing yards despite only starting in 13 games. Had he played (and started) in all 16 games and kept the same pace he had all year, he would have finished with 1,616 rushing yards. That's only 15 yards less than what Elliott had behind the best offensive line in the league.
The conclusion can be reached that Howard was the epitome of doing more with less last year. With a healthy offensive line and a full season as the starter, the sky is the limit for him.
Josh Sitton turned out to be one of the biggest steals of free agency last year. And he was picked up in September!
Sitton stepped in an immediately made an impact on the Bears' interior offensive line. He ended up just as dominant in Chicago as he was in Green Bay, despite not having an offseason to learn the new playbook. With a full season and an offseason in the system, expect Sitton to have an even better season in 2017.
Kyle Long has become one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL. And, unlike some other Bears talents, the league has taken notice of that.
He has been named to the Pro Bowl in all three of his full seasons (he missed eight games last year to injury). Although his play is obviously a huge part in this, this has something that a lot of Bears lack: mainstream popularity.
Although his move to offensive tackle wasn't fantastic, he still managed to make it to the Pro Bowl in 2015, proving that the fan voting is barely anything more than a popularity contest. For an offensive lineman - who doesn't have any real stats to wow the fans with - this is crucial. If Long stays healthy, he could be closest thing to a Pro Bowl lock that the Bears have on the roster.
Cody Whitehair had a magnificent rookie season, to say the least. After transitioning from guard to center seamlessly, he could be in for an even bigger year with more experience under his belt.
His PFF grade of 87.2 finished sixth in the league among centers. This grade was the second-highest in the NFC North among offensive linemen, as I pointed out on Twitter recently.
If he even slightly builds upon his rookie year, then he could be in for a Pro Bowl season this year.
This prediction is assuming that Floyd will build off of his impressive rookie season. Racking up seven sacks in 12 games, he surprised a lot of Bears fans last season. A double-digit sack season is definitely not out of the question.
With Floyd reportedly bigger and more comfortable in Chicago’s defense than he was last year, he could be in for an even bigger season this year. If he can stay clear of the concussion issues that plagued him last year, then he could end up developing into a premier pass rusher in 2017.