I had a fun Tweet over the weekend that I wanted to address here at WCG, too. We're in the middle of firing off a series of articles where our team will give roundtable responses on eight different topics, and here's the next one.
Who do you predict will be the Chicago Bears' top rookie this season?
Josh Sunderbruch: Because offensive linemen are usually best when they aren't noticed, I'm skipping Darnell Wright in favor of Tyrique Stevenson. Some of the best corners in the NFL have a stretch of six or seven games their rookie seasons where they sort of announce their impact on the league. I think that might happen for this guy.
Steven Schweickert: Tyrique Stevenson. That back half could be a thing.
Sam Householder: Tyrique Stevenson. I know it better be Darnell Wright, but good or great OL play doesn't get the headlines (unless you're listening to Bear and Balanced). I think Stevenson is going to attract a lot of attention with his play and swagger.
Erik Duerrwaechter: Zacch Pickens. This was a tough question as I believe both Darnell Wright and Gervon Dexter Sr. will also be excellent during their respective rookie campaigns. However, Zacch Pickens simply made statements week after week during training camp and Preseason action. He quickly adjusted his game to take an early leap in his development within the NFL, including several instances of him converting speed into power and driving linemen backward for consistent penetration. I truly believe he will take over as the starting 3-tech DT before the bye.
Ken Mitchell: Roschon Johnson. I think there are a lot of these rookies that will end up long-term contributors, but rookie years can be tough, and learning curves steep. One position where rookies are generally able to step in quickly is running back, so that's why I give Roschon the nod.
Jeff Berckes: Roschon Johnson. Rookie running backs can step in quickly and have an impact in the NFL, and with Johnson's pass blocking, he'll earn a significant snap share sooner than later.
Aaron Leming: Darnell Wright. The Bears had a 10-player draft class, and eight of those guys made the roster. So, there are many to choose from. Wright and Tyrique Stevenson are the only two projected starters for Week 1. That's not to say guys like Gervon Dexter Sr., Zacch Pickens, and Roschon Johnson won't play roles early in the season, though. Wright should come in as an NFL-ready pass blocker. He'll have his growing pains early, but I'd expect by the end of this season, we are talking about the No. 10 overall pick as one of the building blocks on offense heading into the 2024 off-season.
Jack Salo: Darnell Wright. The stars seemed to align well in April when the Bears drafted a starter at a position of need with Wright, without having to reach down the board either. Excellent value, and if he stays healthy, he'll have more opportunities than the rest of the rookies, who appear to be in rotational/package roles.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: Wright was a day one starter at right tackle for the Bears, and I expect he'll struggle some, but if he stays healthy, he'll start to stack good games together, and by the end of the season, his Pro Bowl potential will be evident.
Who is your prediction for the Bears' rookie of the year?