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Chicago Bears 2023 Season Predictions: Comeback player of the year

The WCG crew is running through several predictions for the 2023 Chicago Bears season, and next up is our comeback pick!

NFL: Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

With only three wins to show for their 2022 season, there are a lot of candidates for this next roundtable topic!

Who do you predict will be the comeback player of the year for the Chicago Bears?

Jeff Berckes: Darnell Mooney - I mean, is there another answer? He was having a bad year before the injury, but all signs point to a productive season as he’s healthy, and DJ Moore is here to take the weight of the WR1 off his shoulders.

Steven Schweickert: Mooney couldn’t be the 1A of last year’s crew, but slotted down into better matchups, and maybe with a hair more time, he’ll thrive. Maybe not 1K, but I’d take 900. Better opportunities, better O-Line, Darnell Mooney is my pick.

Erik Duerrwaechter: Chase Claypool is facing more pressure than anyone else on offense when considering his future as a pro. The Bears, naturally, want to see this sizable trade pay off for the better. Right before his latest setback, Chase simply dominated camp. He’s the large and freakish athlete who pairs incredibly well with DJ Moore and his skillset on the boundary. Having an extended amount of time to learn the playbook, get comfortable with Justin Fields, and get his body right should pay off. It has to pay off for his own sake.

Ken Mitchell: If Claypool can stay healthy, he’s already proven that he can both get open and be explosive.

Sam Householder: There are a lot of “ifs” connected to Claypool. If he’s healthy, if he knows the system, if he can stop holding himself back, etc. But before his injury, he was having a very good camp, so why not him?

Aaron Leming: This was yet another tough one that came down between Darnell Mooney and Claypool. I’m not sure either guy will have a chance to break 1,000 receiving yards this year, but one of them should become the primary No. 2 option in this offense. I like Mooney’s game better, but Claypool’s impact in training camp before his injury was beyond notable, in my opinion. Claypool is at his best when he can move all over the field, but I think his biggest value to this offense will be over the middle of the field. Both receivers are vying for new contracts, but my guess is that only one produces enough to get one. My current feeling is that Claypool will be that guy.

Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: I’ll echo my colleagues above, but I’ll go with both Mooney and Claypool as my picks. Between the two of them, they had 54 receptions, 633 yards, and 2 TDs wearing the Navy and Orange, and if everything goes to plan, they should more than double that production as Chicago’s WR2/WR3 behind D.J. Moore.

Jack Salo: Cody Whitehair. When healthy, this offensive line figures to start three players on rookie deals. While young talent has advantages, I expect Whitehair’s experience and leadership to show as he battles to stay in the Bears’ plans moving forward. His dead cap hits are more palatable after this season.

Josh Sunderbruch: Nathan Peterman. Whether it’s in relief for Fields after a game is in hand or as an injury backup when Bagent isn’t ready, Peterman could very well have a double dozen snaps this season where he just puts down the clipboard, pulls on a helmet, and doesn’t screw up. For his career at this point, at least in the eyes of many, that would amount to a comeback.

Who’s your pick for the Bears comeback player of the year?