Chicago Bears: New Faces Guaranteed to Impress at Training Camp
The Chicago Bears were quite busy this offseason, adding new starters and key contributors that should bolster the production of the 53 man roster as a whole.
New general manager Phil Emery wanted to bolster both the offense and the defense and did in both free agency and the draft.
In this slide show, we'll take a look at the players who are guaranteed to turn some heads when training camp starts in less than three weeks.
Nothing Really Needs to Be Said About Brandon Marshall
Let's get the most obvious new contributor out of the way, wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall is a 6-foot-4 230-pound wide receiver who has put up some of the best production numbers in the NFL.
Since his arrival, he has only had one season where he has had less than 1,000 yards receiving; that was as a rookie.
Marshall can go up and get the football over two defenders, and can catch the quick slant and turn it into big yards after the catch.
There has never been a player of Marshall's capabilities in the history of the franchise. That fact alone will guarantee Marshall gets noticed by fans down in Bourbonnais.
Not so Obvious Selection in the Rookie Safety
The Bears need a player who can match up with these two TEs in one on one pass coverage situations. This will be the job of rookie safety Brandon Hardin who is working in at free safety.
Hardin is 6'3" 217 lbs and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds and played corner in college.
Hardin has natural coverage abilities and is a big physical player who will be counted on to match up with the next generation of tight ends.
To be frank there aren't a lot of other athletes in the NFL who possess Hardin's skill set.
Return Specialist Eric Weems
Sure, it's going to take a lot for Bears fans to be surprised by a return specialist; the best return specialist in the history of the NFL currently resides on the team.
Weems on the other hand may not contribute solely as a return specialist. He's been making noise in minicamp and OTAs as a receiver.
Weems has down-the-field ability, which will help offset the loss of Johnny Knox, whose career is threatened by injury.
His most surprising contribution is likely to be on offense.
Will Michael Bush Surprise?
Michael Bush is a big back who is very tough to bring down once he gets up to speed. However, the one thing that will surprise Bears fans the most will be his moves in the open field and his soft hands.
Bush is fully capable of being an every down back if Matt Forte is injured. Bush could also wind up being the full-time starter in the very near future.
Will Alshon Jeffery Have a Big Season?
Alshon Jeffery comes into the most ideal situation of any of the rookie receivers drafted before him. He has Jay Cutler throwing the football to him, which is better than any of the rookies in front of him.
Cutler is clearly head and shoulders above the QBs whose teams drafted receivers ahead of Jeffery. Plus there is a real need for a player of Jeffery's stature to step up and shine.
Jeffery will get plenty of chances because teams are going to roll coverage to Brandon Marshall each and every game.
He will step up and punish teams who focus primarily on Marshall for too long.