One year ago the Chicago Bears didn’t have Khalil Mack, so the perennial All Pro was no where to be found on my 10 Most Important Bears of 2018. I think it’s safe to say that his addition to the team gave the roster some extra buzz and it put the NFL on notice that Chicago was a team to be taken seriously. No one knew how big of an impact he’d provide, but having a game changing edge rusher helped take the defense from good to great, and it helped get the Bears to the postseason for the first time in nearly a decade.
I thought the Bears would be a nine win team before they swung the trade of the year, so I was expecting solid play all around out of the roster and from debuting head coach Matt Nagy, but when looking back at the Bears I had pegged as being most important, I can see why they had the success they did.
This is my annual reminder not to skim through to the list thinking this is this year’s version of my 10. I always take a look back to see how my predictions panned out before penning the latest version.
“Importance” is subjective, so your list may end up much different than my list, but this is my loose guideline I’ve been following since being handed this assignment back in 2009.
“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.”
So once again, this is how I had the 2018 Ten Most Important Bears. Don’t be the guy that skims to the list thinking this is what I’m picking this year.
You can click on the number in front of each name to see the article from last year.
10) Trey Burton - The U tight end is an important part of Matt Nagy’s system and Burton was brought in to be a big part of creating mismatches.
9) Jordan Howard - Even though Howard was among the league leaders in rushing attempts, some still felt he was underused. His numbers were down, but the overall running game was a big part of what the Bears did in 2018.
8) Danny Trevathan - Chicago's D was better with Trevathan on the field in 2017, and in 2018 he played in all 16 games while going over 100 tackles.
7) Eddie Jackson - Last year I wrote that Eddie Jackson can be a star in 2018 and that’s exactly what he did in making the All-Pro team.
6) Kyle Fuller - Fuller got his big payday after a good 2017, but then he went out and had an even better 2018 by leading the NFL in interceptions and passes defended and making his first All-Pro team.
5) Charles Leno Jr. - Leno is a classic hard-hat lunch-pail kind of offensive lineman and the Bears are lucky to have him.
4) Akiem Hicks - I predicted a breakout year for Hicks a year ago, and he came through with his first Pro Bowl nod. He’s such a talented and cerebral player, but his leadership skills takes him over the top.
3) Leonard Floyd - Before the Mack trade, Floyd was going to have to be the number one edge rusher, and while he didn’t have the year I thought he’d have, he still had his best year as a pro.
2) Matt Nagy - Nagy was my top pick to be the Bears new head coach back when they fired John Fox, but I did not expect him to come in and change things so quickly in Chicago.
1) Mitchell Trubisky - It’s almost always the QB at the top spot of my 10 Most Important Bears list, and last year was no different. The Trubisky-Nagy marriage was a hit from day one and I can’t wait to see what happens in year two of the system.
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