The Chicago Bears have had several outstanding individual performances during the 2023 season. It’ll be difficult to figure out exactly who will earn Pro Bowl honors for those distinctions because the Bears have a poor record, and ties always go to the players on better teams.
But we are going to give it a shot anyway. There are some Bears who should rise above their team’s overall poor performance and get the recognition they deserve.
Jaylon Johnson, CB
Johnson has been one of the top cornerbacks in the league all season by basically any metric you can use. Johnson is tied for 3rd in the NFC with 4 interceptions and returned one of them for a touchdown. His passer rating against has been the best or towards the top of the league week-in and week-out, and if PFF grades are your thing, he’s their highest-graded corner on the season. Johnson has been one of the league’s best regardless of record, and he should hear his name called when rosters are announced.
DJ Moore, WR
This one will be close, but I think Moore will get the nod. He’s currently 7 in the NFC in receptions, but he’s 5th in receiving yards and he’s 4th in receiving touchdowns. He also has a fantastic catch rate of 72.1% which puts him 3rd amongst NFC wide receivers. Beyond that, Moore has elevated this offense numerous times and he also had a massive game on national television against the Washington Commanders and that always helps as well.
T.J. Edwards, LB
It’ll be interesting to see if Edwards season gets lost in the weeds by the fact that his team isn’t good. But the defense has been getting recognition so hopefully it means good things for Edwards. TJ is 2nd in the NFC in tackles, his two interceptions puts him 3rd among NFC linebackers, and he also has 7 TFLs and 2.5 sacks on the season as well. Of the players listed here, Edwards is the one most likely to be left off the Pro Bowl roster.
Montez Sweat, DE
Sweat has been an animal for the Chicago Bears and is currently leading both the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders in sacks. He’s been the type of multiplier that Ryan Poles praises. He’s elevated the entire defensive line which has, in turn, elevated Tremaine Edmunds. Sweat is tied for 2nd with Micah Parsons with 12.5 sacks in the NFC.
Cole Kmet, TE - Kmet has had a great year for the Chicago Bears, but when you stack him up against the rest of the NFC tight ends, he just falls short. Kmet is 7th in yardage among NFC tight ends and is tied for 3rd in receptions. He’s tied for 2nd for TE touchdowns, so while the numbers are close, when your numbers fall short of TJ Hockenson, George Kittle, Sam LaPorta and Trey McBride, when those players are on better teams, you have to figure they will get the nod before Kmet.
Teven Jenkins, G - Jenkins has become clearly the best player on the Chicago Bears offensive line and his presence was clearly missed against the Cleveland Browns. Jenkins will have two uphill battles. Offensive linemen from bad teams rarely make the Pro Bowl unless they are already a perennial Pro Bowler and two, he’s missed four games and appears to be set to miss more after suffering a concussion. His PFF grades are outstanding and his pass blocking stats are excellent, but this probably isn’t the year he gets recognition.
Cairo Santos, K - Santos has had an outstanding season. He’s one of two NFC kickers that is perfect from 50+ FGs with a minimum of 5 attempts and he’s second in the NFC in FG accuracy. The problem is only one kicker from the NFC goes and for Santos, the kicker he trails in FG accuracy, also happens to be the other kicker that is perfect from 50+. That is Brandon Aubrey of the Dallas Cowboys who hasn’t missed a kick on the year and is on a much better team and is practically a shoo-in for the honors.