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10 Most Important Bears of 2020: #7 This offense needs Jimmy Graham to be a productive U

For the 12th straight year, I’m bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. Tight end Jimmy Graham checks in at number 7.

Divisional Round - Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

At 33-years old his best football is likely behind him.

His last two years in Green Bay has been called a disappointment by most pundits.

The two-year, $16 million deal he signed back in March was universally panned by NFL analysts.

But the Chicago Bears desperately need Jimmy Graham to be a productive part of their 2020 offense.

Matt Nagy’s scheme is reliant on the tight end position, or more specifically the U tight end position, being an impactful part of the offense. The U is a position he uses as an adjuster in his offense to aid his quarterback. He’ll line the U up anywhere in the formation and send him in motion at any time, so he needs that U to be smart and athletic.

Even though the Trey Burton era in Chicago ended poorly, his 54 receptions, 569 yards, and 6 touchdowns were a big part of what made the 2018 offense click. Missing Burton a year ago — he only had 14 catches in 8 games — was a big reason the 2019 offense sputtered all season long.

Jimmy Graham may not come close to what he did during his heyday in New Orleans when he averaged 89 receptions and over 1,000 yards each year from 2011 to 2014, but the Bears don’t need that Jimmy Graham.

The Bears only need Graham to give them some Burton-like numbers of around 50/500, while proving a big target in the red zone, being a zone buster in the middle of the field on third downs, and to draw some coverage attention away from Chicago’s running backs out of the backfield.

Graham isn’t the same player that ran a 4.56 forty at the 2010 NFL Combine, but the 6’7”, 265 pounder is a savvy route runner that understands how to set up a defender, he has strong hands, he hasn’t missed a game since 2015, and he’s still a match-up problem for defenses.