3 Chicago Bears Who Could Be Key Players in the 2024 Season

Check out the three underrated Chicago Bears players, T.J. Edwards, Roschon Johnson, and Zacch Pickens, who could play pivotal roles in the 2024 season.

This offseason we’ve talked a lot about many Chicago Bears players. The Buzz has been created by Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze as general manager Ryan Poles completely revamped the team’s wide receiver group. When he decided to stay in Chicago for the time being, Jaylon Johnson made headlines, and Montez Sweat is still the main topic of discussion when talking about the defence. Even more attention has been paid to Tory Taylor, the rookie punter, and his potential as a weapon on special teams. There have, of course, been tales of Caleb Williams. Caleb Williams’s stories abound.

But a select group of players won’t make or break the team. Although the most talked-about players frequently produce the biggest plays, as nose tackle Andrew Billings demonstrated the previous season, sometimes the people who put in the grunt work have the most impact when it matters most.

In keeping with that, the following list of Chicago Bears players might have a greater impact on the team than their level of recognition outside of Halas Hall.

T.J. EDWARDS – LINEBACKER (Chicago Bears)

3 Chicago Bears Who Could Be Key Players in the 2024 Season
T.J. EDWARDS

Since Sweat arrived and improved the Chicago Bears’ defence’s pass rush on his own, there’s no denying that he should be regarded as the team’s 2023 MVP. But without Edwards’ play, which improved every week, the team most likely wouldn’t have made the same progress that it did during the year. In head coach Matt Eberflus’ scheme, Edwards plays the crucial position of weakside linebacker, where he must get to the ball to rack up tackles and cause takeaways.

That’s exactly what he did.

Edwards led the club in tackles with an astounding 155, good for seventh most in the NFL. In addition, he forced one fumble, recovered two interceptions, and intercepted three passes. Though it won’t appear on the stat sheet, Tremaine Edmunds also wouldn’t have this pick-six if Edwards hadn’t given Cedric Tillman such a big hit.

Edwards will be crucial to the team’s success in 2024 if he just continues where he left off from the previous season. He has the potential to become one of the league’s top linebackers if he continues to improve as he grows more accustomed to playing in Eberflus’ scheme.

ROSCHON JOHNSON – RUNNING BACK (Chicago Bears)

3 Chicago Bears Who Could Be Key Players in the 2024 Season
ROSCHON JOHNSON (Image: X)

D’Andre Swift, a versatile rusher who can also contribute in the passing game should be the main focus of the Chicago Bears’ rushing attack this season. But in the NFL, the blowback is essentially over. Most coaches use a running back-by-committee strategy unless their club has a player like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, or Derrick Henry leading the way. Although the Bears might not distribute the carries equally between Swift and their RB2, Johnson will likely see a lot of snaps from the latter.

Johnson showed flashes of the physical power that brought the Chicago Bears to him in last year’s draft, but he never rushed for 40 yards in a game and averaged just over five carries. Given that Khalil Herbert’s contract expires at the end of this season, the team will probably want to see more of him in 2024.

Poles may feel confident about moving ahead with that combination, letting Hert depart in free agency, and possibly restocking the room with another youngster if Johnson performs well this season as Swift’s lightning to his thunder. If not, he may want to think about keeping Herbert on board or taking a more important action. In any case, it appears that Johnson will see more playing time this year.

ZACCH PICKENS – DEFENSIVE TACKLE (Chicago Bears)

3 Chicago Bears Who Could Be Key Players in the 2024 Season
ZACCH PICKENS (Image: X)

Gervon Dexter’s ability to take the field as the team’s next starting three-tech has been the main topic of discussion over the summer regarding the defensive line. Justifiably so, considering that the defence must perform to its high standards if he is not able to exert pressure from the middle of the pocket. But in an ideal scenario, the Bears would like to attack with two waves of linemen. This would enable the club to maintain the pass rushers’ maximum level of freshness throughout the fourth quarter while simultaneously giving opposing offensive lines a different look.

The Chicago Bears will need Pickens to develop just as much as they need Dexter to develop to do that. Pickens spent most of the previous season filling in as Billings’ nose tackle backup, accounting for barely 25% of the team’s defensive plays. This year, he has the chance to demonstrate his versatility by performing three tech reps. One of the team’s smallest position groupings, if not the thinnest, is still defensive tackle.

The Poles only added Byron Cowart and a few UDFAs to the roster this summer. Since Cowart spent last season bouncing between the practice squads of the Chiefs, Texans, and Dolphins, it’s difficult for UDFAs to make a significant impact in their first seasons. Pickens, on the other hand, seems to have the best chance of taking over as a DT on the Chicago Bears’ second unit.

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