Ahhhh, the Pro Bowl. The NFL’s official popularity contest attempted to be advertised as a pathetic All-Star game. The Pro Bowl is almost always a fail despite the NFL’s lackluster attempts to spice it up every other season. And though being named a Pro Bowler should be an honor as, like the NBA or NHL where being an All-Star is a sizable metric into the total legacies of players, the NFL has found no ways to make the Pro Bowl a special event.
And being based on a complete fan vote and only the most popular players ever make appearances, our generally low-key Chicago Bears are usually absent at the annual event. Without nearly any flashy fan favorites on the roster, it’s customary that the Bears have at best two or three players voted in.
But folks, one can not deny the Bears are a team on the rise. With rising and potential superstars such as Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, and Jordan Howard, Chicago has players who could realistically make the Pro Bowl as early as this season or the next if they develop as quickly as hoped. On top of Pro Bowl regulars like Kyle Long and Josh Sitton, the Bears are possibly primed for a strong presence at the NFL All-Star game this season.
So today, we’re not going through the most likely Pro Bowlers. We’re taking a looksie at the 3 biggest dark horses this season. Who do the Bears are poised for breakout season while at the same time not having multiple elite NFC players at their position that they simply won’t be able to beat out? That’s the question for today’s read.
So let’s hop to it.
Top Competition: Patrick Peterson (ARI) Richard Sherman (SEA) Xavier Rhodes (MIN)
Fuller has had a weird career. He dropped an incredibly promising rookie year (51 Tackles, 3 FF, 4 INT), being on par with future Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis’s rookie year (45 Tackles, 1 FF, 5 INT) and fellow potential Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson (59 Tackles, 0 FF, 4 INT).
He regressed minorly the following year despite many believing he was soon to take a major leap. Then he proceeded to fall off a cliff completely and missed nearly the entire subsequent season with a knee injury and now even his own coach John Fox has lost faith in him.
Regardless, Fuller can still regain the potentially Pro-Bowl levels of talent he possesses and finally puts it all together to ascend to Darrelle Revis levels of stardom if he can claw his way back into the starting spot.
Especially considering the not quite elite Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes is capable of getting the nod if Fuller can come out and have a shockingly good season he has the skills to beat division rival Rhodes.
The talent is there and with a season off, there’s no doubt he can contend for a spot on the Pro Bowl team if he can stay on the field.
Top Competition: Vic Beasley (ATL), Thomas Davis (CAR), Ryan Kerrigan (WAS)
McPhee possesses awesome size, explosiveness and a pass rush ability to be feared. He is a versatile and incredibly talented pass rusher who overall has been snubbed hard for the past couple years as a Bear.
After being signed in 2015 from the Ravens, McPhee made an immediate impression on the defense rounding up 42 tackles plus one pick and one forced fumble in 14 games.
2016 he missed much of the season with injury however in 2015 he was one of the most productive outside linebackers in the league and probably should have made the Pro Bowl if he wasn’t a first year player for a new team.
Second year players for new teams are much more likely to make the Pro Bowl than first-year team-changers and with a hopefully complete season ahead of him, it would be surprising to not see him voted in over the aging Thomas Davis or the arguably overrated Ryan Kerrigan.
Top Competition: Julio Jones (ATL), Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG), Mike Evans (TB)
Yeah, I know I’m going to have to explain myself on this one.
The injuries have completely destroyed any hope of White’s talent making an impact anywhere on the field. In his first two seasons, he has missed an astonishing 28 games due to shin and ankle injuries after being drafted a risky seventh overall in the 2015 draft.
However, he has shown to have what it takes to become a top NFL receiver. In the four games he has played in, he flashed his game-changing big play ability averaging 9.8 yards per catch, albeit in 19 receptions.
At West Virginia, he showed this expertise while bringing in All-American honors with 1447 yards on 109 receptions and was generally seen as one of the best receiver prospects in a long time. And for good reason.
White already possesses the physical talent, size, speed and hands that any team would kill for in a number one receiver. And now hopefully past his “injury after injury” stage, he can now be back on the field and make the impact he was drafted for.
He may not have the elite know-how of the NFL and star power to beat out trendy wideouts like Julio Jones or Odell Beckham Jr. yet but with four spots on the table, White may very well beat out a Mike Evans or Jordy Nelson with the amount of upside he has.
Barring any more season ending injuries and he achieves his full potential, White is without a doubt going to be a Pro Bowler one day in his career. Why not this season?