Chicago Bears: Players Who Might Have a Breakout Year in 2012

Tyler MooreContributor IIIMay 3, 2012

A season ago, the Chicago Bears were 7-3 and looking like they were going to be ready for a playoff push after beating the San Diego Chargers last season.

However, after Jay Cutler went down with his thumb injury against the Chargers, the Chicago Bears never recovered and a late season injury to Matt Forte all but ended the Bears' 2011 campaign.

The 2012 Chicago Bears should be an exciting group to watch as they look to have a bounce back season.

After a number of additions in the offseason and a few changes in the front office, there could be a number of players who are poised to have a breakout year for the Chicago Bears this season.

Here are a few players who be a factor for the Bears this season.


Earl Bennett

Before wide receiver Earl Bennett went down with an injury last season, he and Jay Cutler were forming a great connection.

He was Jay Cutler's go-to guy on third-down conversions, and more often than not Jay looked to him more than any other receiver on the Bears.

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Earl Bennett #80 of the Chicago Bears stands on the sidelines near the end of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on December18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Seahawks defeated the Bears 38-14. (Photo by Jonath
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Earl Bennett should see most of his time as a slot receiver after the arrivals of Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall


However, that shouldn't slow down Bennett's development as a wide receiver, as he could be poised to have a huge season for the Bears. 


Stephen Paea

Maybe one of the reasons that the Chicago Bears have not yet signed a veteran defensive lineman is because they think Stephen Paea is ready to have a breakout performance. 

After being drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft, Paea didn't see much time on the field.

However, Love Smith and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli still have high hopes on the second-year pro out of Oregon State. 

In only seven games a season ago, Paea registered two sacks and 14 tackles. With more action on the field this season, the Chicago Bears are hoping those numbers go up. 


Major Wright 

After being inserted into the starting lineup, Major Wright played pretty well for the Chicago Bears, and I think this could be his breakout season.

In 10 games for the Chicago Bears, Wright registered three interceptions and 48 tackles. Wright also had one interception return for a touchdown.

Some aren't as high on Wright, but if he is given the starting role this season, he will have a solid year in Chicago.


Kellen Davis 

In Mike Martz's offense a season ago, the tight end position was a non factor.

With new offensive coordinator Mike Tice on board, Kellen Davis should see a lot more playing time.

At 6'7", Davis provides Jay Cutler with another big receiver to throw the ball to in the red zone. Last season, Davis had five touchdowns and was a huge part of the Bears' success in the red zone. 

Kellen Davis could be posed to have a big season with Chicago.