5 Predictions About the Chicago Bears' Rookie Class
The Bears have an interesting list of prospects that I am excited to see develop in the coming months during minicamps, offseason workouts and training camp.
There are sure to be position battles at key positions which will bring new faces to the starting lineup for the Bears.
Here are five predictions pertaining to the Chicago Bears' 2012 rookie class.
1. Shea McClellin Will Be 2nd in Sacks for the Chicago Bears by Season's End
Shea McClellin is an absolute animal, that much is known.
He is a passionate kid who loves the game and shows that with the way he plays. Sure, he may not be the largest defensive end on the Chicago Bears, but with Peppers across from him routinely warranting double- and sometimes triple-teams, expect McClellin to impress his rookie year.
With the Bears having invested in him so heavily, you know Emery and Co. have done their homework on the slightly undersized defensive end out of Boise State.
I'm excited to see this kid on the field.
Prediction: 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles
2. Alshon Jeffery Won't Reach 1000 Receiving Yards—but He Will Get Damn Close
For all of you Alshon Jeffery doubters (I know there aren't many), look at the above highlights from the 2010 South Carolina/Alabama game.
Notice who Jeffery is playing against? That's the top safety in this year's draft, Mark Barron, along with one of the top cornerbacks in this year's draft, Dre Kirkpatrick.
Jeffery absolutely dominated them throughout the game on the way to a Gamecocks victory—Jeffery had 127 yards and two TDs in that game. There is no denying his ability to make plays as well as his knack for coming down with the ball.
Prediction: 900+ receiving yards, nine TDs
3. Brandon Hardin Won't Start Week 1 at Safety...
But he will by midseason.
The Chicago Bears are going to give Major Wright every chance to secure his spot, so chances are he will open the year as the starter.
That being said, I think most of us can agree that Wright simply just isn't working out. He makes too many mistakes and is constantly injured.
Hardin will be the answer, but it will take a little bit of time, especially since Wright has experience in the defense that gives him an advantage going into camp.
Add that with the fact that Hardin is going to be playing safety as opposed to his collegiate position of cornerback and you have to award the kid some time to adjust.
Rest assured though, Hardin will be the starter by, at the latest, midseason.
Prediction: Hardin will take over at Wright's safety spot, across from Chris Conte before Week 6.
4. Evan Rodriguez Will Lead the Bears Tight Ends in Receiving Yards
I have heard Lovie sing the same song about Kellen Davis and how much the Bears like him. That won't matter this year.
Kellen Davis is absolutely massive at 6'7" and 262 lbs, but he isn't a huge threat as a receiver like Rodriguez has the ability to be.
Rodriguez, in addition to his decent speed and great hands, is an exceptional run-blocker which should hopefully give Matt Forte (assuming he signs) someone to lead block.
Prediction: 600+ receiving yards, seven TDs.
5. Either Frey or McCoy Will Not Make the 53-Man Roster
And I have a feeling it's going to be Frey.
McCoy is an exceptional kick returner—Emery stated that he's a blue chip player in that regard—and the Bears have just added multiple corners in free agency, so it's unlikely the Bears will take eight cornerbacks into the regular season.
That doesn't mean they won't make the practice squad, but both making the 53-man roster isn't going to happen.
Prediction: McCoy makes the 53-man roster, not Frey.