I got this idea from a series of articles at The Draft Network, where they are giving their superlative picks in seven different categories for all 32 teams. I thought it would be a fun exercise to run through myself, so fun in fact that I sent the questions out to our team as well. And since I didn’t want us to have all the fun, I even shot out the question on Twitter to get your takes.
BREAKOUT GUY: OL JAMES DANIELS
Daniels wasn’t an instant starter for the Bears as a rookie in 2018, but worked his way into the lineup and started ten games. A prospect I graded as a first-round talent in last year’s draft, I love how Daniels fits Matt Nagy’s scheme.
Daniels is a rare blend of mobility and power, featuring some of the most explosive movement skills I’ve ever witness from an interior offensive linemen. His range is elite, which opens the door for even more scheme multiplicity for the creative Nagy. With his rookie season out of the way, Daniels should blossom into a standout up front for Chicago and he’s primed to anchor the unit or year’s to come.
I love the James Daniels pick, and that’s not just because I agree with it. I’ve been talking Daniels up as a Pro Bowl pick all offseason. He played damn good football at left guard as a rookie, but now that he’s moving to his more familiar center spot, now that he has a better understanding of NFL defensive fronts, and now that he’s bulked up his 21-year old frame, I expect him to kick ass all season long.
Now let’s check on who the WCG staffers picked for their Breakout Guy for the 2019 Bears.
Robert Zeglinski - WR Javon Wims
Day in and day out, the physical specimen in Wims stole the show during the summer. There wasn’t a game, practice or play where the Bears called his number and he didn’t make a spectacular play. He’ll prove none of it was a fluke by the end of the 2019 season. When you factor in his size, polish and newfound complete confidence, I’ll go on record saying Wims will be known as the Bears’ second-best receiver behind only Allen Robinson come December.
Sam Householder - WR Javon Wims
Can it be anyone other than Wims? I am not sure anyone saw the second-year WR and former seventh round pick opening camp running with the 1s. It’s quite the rise for a player that seemed like just another body a year ago that had some hope. The fact that he’s carved out a role in this offense, at a loaded position group, is really surprising and it shows why Emanuel Hall was cut loose seemingly kind of early.
Aaron Leming - QB Mitchell Trubisky
Last year, the Bears had plenty of breakout players, which may have overshadowed the leap Trubisky made from Year 1 to Year 2. Heading into 2019, all eyes will be on the third-year quarterback and despite an uneven camp, I expect him to take another sizable jump this year. Not only does he simply know the offense better and what he needs to do, it’s Year 2 in Nagy’s system with the same weapons. He won’t spend half the year developing chemistry with pass catchers, plus the running game should be much more consistent this year, which will help him in a big way (see: Jared Goff).
Erik Duerrwaechter - QB Mitchell Trubisky
Last year was year one under Matt Nagy and his modern philosophies on offense. Where Trubisky still had some rookie moments, he produced better numbers and took several steps forward in his development. The buzz from training camp and Halas Hall is he’s set to take the league by storm.
There’s reason for optimism regarding this suggestion. First, Andy Reid and his disciplines have seen big jumps in overall productivity for their offenses going into their second year. Second, the chemistry between Trubisky and his receivers -- particularly Allen Robinson -- is much more potent. Lastly, yet equally as important, the Bears took to bring in more weapons to stockpile their arsenal with during the offseason. It’s now or never with Trubisky, and I’m confident he’ll exceed expectations this season.
Josh Sunderbruch - RB David Montgomery
I think he’s going to get a lot of touches, and I think he’s going to provide a missing dimension to the Bears’ offense. I also think that because this team is going to win and lose by the defense, the ability to have stability on offense is going to be key.
Robert Schmitz - RB David Montgomery
While there were plenty of names I could’ve chosen for this category, there’s no one that seems more prepared to blow away expectations this year than David Montgomery. Between his outstanding contact balance, his quickness when changing directions, and his vision as a ball-carrier, Montgomery seems to be a perfect fit in Matt Nagy’s inside zone system and should rack up yards in bunches throughout the year. He’s also a legitimate receiving option out of the backfield, which adds a component to our offense that we were sorely lacking last year. With the offensive talent in front of him and supplemental receiving weapons flanked out to his sides, Montgomery should enjoy exactly the time and space he needs to break out in his rookie season.
Ken Mitchell - RB David Montgomery
Montgomery has to be the breakout guy for Chicago in 2019. Yeah, it’s hardly original, but I think he’s got the perfect tool set for this team and his situation.
Patti Curl - OLB Leonard Floyd
I’ve got a good feeling about Floyd this year. It won’t be the best timing for the Bears when it comes to contract negotiations, but I’m expecting Floyd to take a sizeable step forward in the pass-rush department and finally pile up sacks in the double digits.
Now let’s check in with Twitter to see what some of you guys had to say about your Breakout Bears pick.
Does Roquan Smith count? He didn't get much national love last year, but was one of the 5 best players on a loaded D by the end of his rookie season. With a full camp under his belt this time around, big things (like Pro Bowl/All Pro) are in store.— Johnathan Wood (@Johnathan_Wood1) August 22, 2019
I’ve also predicted an All Pro nod for Roquan Smith, and you can see all my Bears 2019 defensive statistical predictions in this article.
For me it's Roy Robertson Harris.. he's going to be so special I can't just say RRH. I think he took some steps last year to bring his body into shape and now having the off season to work on the hand placement and learn from K Mack. I was going to say Floyd but that's too easy.— BearsDfense (@BearsDfense) August 22, 2019
Leonard Floyd with a lot to prove, playing opposite Mack and on the line with Hicks, going to see a lot of 1 on 1 opportunities! Flo should prove to have a big year and show why he was a first round selection.— Bear With Us Radio (@BearWithUsRadio) August 22, 2019
David Montgomery really opens up the offense. I'm expecting an impact similar to Kareem Hunt's rookie year in KC.— derrick (@derrick21h) August 22, 2019
I am going w/ Shaheen. He has tons of red zone potential. Health is the issue. Hope he can be the big target Tru needs. #BearDown— Paul Battles (@ChiSoxFan1) August 22, 2019
Deon Bush. Has developed into a solid backup capable of making plays when called into duty. Think he has a big role in a win.— Ewarrenstan (@TJ_Shouse) August 22, 2019
Mark my words Allen Robinson is going to put on a show this year— Rick Knight (@Rickdaruler773) August 22, 2019
K Rudy Pineiro...because good God we need to have someone breakout at that position and he 'survived' the Coach Nagy gauntlet of unconventional kicking drills LOL— Michael English (@Menglish13) August 22, 2019
Mitchell- 2nd year of this offense with a healthy receiving corps; utility weapons like Cohen, Monty, Patterson & Whyte; and something that’s not mentioned often - it’s Nagy’s 2nd year too, so I expect better gameplans from Day 1 thru the SB.— Kris ⬇️ (@KrisArmstrong1) August 22, 2019
Now it’s your turn, who is your Bears Breakout Guy for 2019?