Every year there’s that one guy that kind of comes out of nowhere and creates a buzz for himself during OTAs and training camp. Ideally, we’d like to see that guy explode onto the scene and be an honest to goodness play-maker for the Chicago Bears. But at this point, I think most of us would be happy if an unheralded player can just have himself a solid season.
The Bears do have a few candidates as an offseason surprise type of player, but if we take rookies out of the equation, and we take the really unlikely fringe roster guys out of the equation, then which veterans could end up, when it’s all said and done, that we look back on with appreciative surprise?
ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson recently gave his thoughts on this subject and he picks wide receiver Kevin White.
The seventh overall pick of the 2015 draft, White has played in only five career regular-season games because of an assortment of injuries, and the Bears earlier this offseason declined the fifth-year option on his contract. But White stayed healthy throughout Chicago’s offseason program, where he looked better than expected running routes in coach Matt Nagy’s West Coast offense. White still has to prove he can stay on the field for an entire season, but the Bears appear willing to give him one more chance.
Every beat guy that spent time at OTAs had something positive to say about White. While the team is only working out in shorts and shells, keep in mind that White’s speed and quickness is what these reporters are talking up.
Another surprising Bear that has a bit of buzz surrounding his play this offseason has been safety Deon Bush. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio mentioned his improved play at a recent press conference, and Fangio isn’t one to hype guys without merit.
During his two year Bears’ career, the 2016 fourth round draft pick has played in twenty-four games, and he made little to no impact in those games.
Part of that could have been the natural adjustment to the NFL, but it’s also possible his personal life was causing a distraction. Bush’s father, Gary, who has battled liver cancer since Deon was still at the University of Miami, passed away last September.
This is Deon’s first professional offseason without his dad, and with the heavy weight of concern he carried for his father’s well being lifted, perhaps his focus on football is improved.