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Looking back at my 10 Most Important Chicago Bears of 2016

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Denver Broncos v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I’ve been running down my 10 Most Important Chicago Bears since 2009. This was the first regular series I was asked to do here on Windy City Gridiron, and it’s become one of my personal favorites. This preface article I write, looking back at my top ten from the previous year, really lets me understand where thing all went awry for the team. Unfortunately, my look-backs have only reflected on two winning seasons in eight years, so these have been full of what-could-have-beens.

With Chicago suffering through their worst season since 1969, this article will be very telling.

Before I get things rolling, let me explain my criteria for compiling these lists. This was what I wrote way back when, and it’s still the basis for what I do.

"What potential impact they may have, how much the team will look to the individual for guidance or leadership, how badly the team would suffer if they lost the player to injury, and other intangible attributes."

Basically, it’s all subjective. I can’t quantify why I thought this guy was more important than that guy because it’s just my opinion. We’ll all have different lists and that’s OK. Here’s how I had it last year, and keep in mind,

For those of you that just skim our articles and you think this is my 2017 list, be warned you will be mocked in the comment thread. For a look back at what I wrote last year, just click on the number in front of the Bears' name.

10) Hroniss Grasu - Before his unfortunate injury at Family Day, Grasu was set to open the season as the starting center. He had bulked up a bit from his rookie year, and the coaches were all raving about his offseason. Grasu going down was the first domino that fell which led to the Bears moving Cody Whitehair to center. Domino number two was Josh Sitton being released by the Packers, so the Bears figured they’d bring him on and slide Whitehair to the middle of their offensive line.

9) Kevin White - After missing his rookie year, the Bears were expecting big things from a healthy White, who was ready to live up to his first round draft status. He didn’t, as another injury held him to only four games.

I wonder if a healthy White would have given the Bears’ offense a big play receiver last year?

8) Leonard Floyd - The Bears moved up in the 2016 draft for Floyd, so the expectations were high. He only played in 12 games, but his athleticism flashed.

7) Charles Leno - The Bears trusted Leno enough to not bring in any legitimate competition in for the 2016 season, and his progression was going to be key for their offense. I thought he was serviceable, but he still has to grow as a player.

6) Pernell McPhee - He only played nine games last year and that was a problem. When healthy, he’s a playmaker, and the Bears missed his presence on the field.

5) The ILBs - After the disastrous 2015 season from Chicago’s inside linebackers, they went out and addressed the position with Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman. Had both played the entire year, it would have given the D a big boost, but Trevathan missed seven games to injury and Freeman missed four to a suspension.

4) Alshon Jeffery - The Bears gave Jeffery the franchise tag for a prove-it year to see how valuable he was to the team, but he ended up sitting out four games to a suspension.

3) Eddie Goldman - I was expecting Goldman to have a huge 2016, but another injury stole 10 games from his sophomore season.

2) RB by committee - Last offseason the pecking order of the Bears’ backs was much different than where it ended up. Jordan Howard, thanks to an injury, emerged as the lead back, and there wasn’t much of a committee.

1) Jay Cutler - He only played in five games last year, and was released after the season. A good year from Jay, after his solid 2015, would have probably meant a few more wins last season, and he may still be employed by the Bears.

I'll kick off my 2017 list next week after the holiday, so in the meantime, you guys can give your full top 10 most important Bears right here in the comment section.