We are just four months away from the 2017 NFL season. It appears that the Chicago Bears staff has full trust in their wide receivers and cornerbacks, as they did not make any big splashes in free agency or the draft at either position.
Here is my bold prediction on what I see the top player at both respective positions doing this year.
The Bears made it known that they trust their current cornerbacks when they decided to pass on one of the deepest cornerback classes in quite some time. Although most may think it could be another year of abysmal secondary play, I believe that Amukamara could return to his past form in Vic Fangio’s defense. He has what some would consider an injury problem, as he only played a full season once. However, if Amukamara can stay healthy, he can be an effective cover corner. I think that, with Fangio’s teaching, he could blossom to be one of the better corners in this league. If he plays well this year, then the Bears shouldn’t hesitate to sign him to a long-term deal.
Amukamara will come away with three forced fumbles, 17 passes defended and seven interceptions. He will play a huge role on defense, and will become the No. 1 corner the Bears have been looking for since Charles Tillman left.
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Meredith proved he could play well in 2016 – he topped 100 receiving yards four times last year. He also snagged in four touchdowns and 66 total receptions. The fact that makes this even more impressive is that he did so with three different quarterbacks throwing the ball. This shows that multiple quarterbacks trusted him, and that should help him with Mike Glennon or Mitch Trubisky next year.
I expect Meredith to have a Terrelle Pryor-type season and really break out. It also doesn’t hurt to mention that Meredith only played in 14 games last year. In the first three games of the season, he only appeared in 14 plays. Meredith started showing how promising he could be near the end of the year. He compiled 31 receptions, 439 yards and two touchdowns between Weeks 13 and 17. Meredith has a full season to be No. 1 receiver this year, so his numbers could skyrocket.
I look for Meredith to have over 1,200 yards receiving, 81 receptions and 10 touchdowns. I see him making it to his first Pro Bowl. This will make the Bears tag him as a restricted free agent or give him a decent extension.
I don’t expect to see any Alshon Jeffery-like scenarios out of Meredith, because I feel Meredith actually wants to be in Chicago. Expect Pace to give Meredith what he wants if he indeed becomes a Pro Bowler.