I threw that question out on Twitter a couple days ago and I received a lot of names, including some names that I wouldn’t necessarily consider players that are in a position to break out, but that’s the beauty of a subjective question like that. “Break out” can be interpreted however the reader chooses, so I’ll run down some of the candidates you guys mentioned to me on Twitter with my thoughts on them.
Who will break out for the Chicago Bears in 2021?
The No Brainers
Darnell Mooney, WR: Fans weren’t expecting the 5th round pick to have the kind of impact he did by setting a Chicago wide receiver record with 61 rookie receptions, and with a more stable offense I would expect him to really make his mark in 2021.
Cole Kmet, TE: The 22-year old second year pro will look to build off a solid rookie season that saw him play in every game, while getting better as a blocker as the season wore on, and while also catching 21 of his 28 passes after the week 11 bye.
Jaylon Johnson, CB: I thought Johnson broke out pretty well as a rookie a year ago, but I suppose staying healthy and picking up the first turnover of his career could be break out worthy accomplishments. He has Pro Bowl potential for sure.
Justin Fields, QB: It sounds like the Bears plan to play Fields when it’s best for the team and for him, so I’m assuming we’ll see him at some point in 2021. When he finally gets the nod the excitement will be palpable.
Dazz Newsome, WR: I think it’ll be a surprise if Newsome plays enough to have a break out season, but one Twitter user is predicting a Rookie of the Year for Dazz. Maybe it’s one of Newsome’s cousins, or maybe it’s just a big Tar Heel fan, but that’s a heck of a prediction.
Can an established player breakout?
Allen Robinson, WR: Some on Twitter said A-Rob would break out in 2021. Here’s a guy that already put up a 1,400 yard year with the Jaguars during his Pro Bowl 2015 season, and he has 200 receptions the last two years in Chicago. So what would a breakout season look like for one of the better wide outs in the NFL?
Andy Dalton, QB: Another former Pro Bowler (3x) was mentioned as a breakout candidate, and I don’t get this one. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’ll provide some stability in the offense, but at this point in his career I can’t see his play going to a “break out” status.
David Montgomery, RB: Wasn’t him being 4th in rushing yards and 5th in yards from scrimmage in 2020 already a break out? Montgomery was mentioned by several people on Twitter when I posed the question, so I reckon a break out from him in year three would be something like 2,000 yards from scrimmage which is what one Twitter user predicted.
These would be a welcome surprise
Anthony Miller, WR: There’s no question Miller has more talent than his career highs of 52 receptions and 656 receiving yards would suggest, but consistency has been an issue for him through three years. Was that consistency partly the QB’s fault? We’ll find out this season.
Jesper Horsted, TE: With Jimmy Graham the only viable U tight end on the roster, that leaves an opportunity for the former UDFA from Princeton to make an impact. I thought he showed some promise as a converted wide out as a rookie in 2019, so maybe a year on the practice squad will have done him some good.
Kindle Vildor, CB: Vildor seems to be the flavor of the last week from Bears fans on Twitter, as there was a short video clip circulating showing him making a few tackles that got fans fired up. I would love to see last year’s 5th-round pick break out, but he has a battle for playing time whether he ends up outside or at nickel.
This one was just funny
Sam Hurd.— Brian Torrez (@B_Torrez) May 21, 2021
My picks to break out for the Bears in 2021
Offense: Considering I see the offense making some strides in 2021 with whomever ends up quarterbacking the team, give me Kmet as the guy to benefit the most from that. I’m not predicting a Pro Bowl season from him, but of all the established players on the offense, Kmet is the guy I can see increasing his numbers the most. I predict his blocking will be a big help to the running game, and he’ll be a terror in play action with over 50 catches and 500 yards.
Runner-up: James Daniels was mentioned by a few of you guys on Twitter, but I wasn’t sure where to put in in the categories above. I thought he was on his way to a damn good year in 2020 before getting injured, so if he’s back playing healthy, I see big things ahead for the 23-year old four year veteran.
Defense: Bilal Nichols is another guy mentioned by some of you guys that I wasn’t quite sure where to put above. He seemed to break out a bit last year with career high numbers across the board, but that was while playing out of position for much of the season. With Eddie Goldman back to man nose tackle, I can see Nichols thriving now that he’ll be back playing the position that suits his skill set.
Runner-up: The Bears obviously feel Jaylon Johnson is ready to be their CB1, and I can’t wait to see how he’ll look in Sean Desai’s defense. Playing a bit more zone could provide him with more turnover opportunities.
There were several other Bears mentioned, so if you do the Twitter thing scroll through the thread and see who else the people predicted.
And as always, let us know your picks in the comment section below.