Chicago Bears: Up-and-Coming Impact Players to Watch This Season
The Chicago Bears aren't a very young team—they are the seventh oldest team in the NFL by average age. So finding young up-and-coming impact players is kind of hard to define with so many established veterans at so many key positions.
The Bears do have some talented youth, however—players who might make an impact on a team that could be competing for a Super Bowl title.
In this slideshow, we'll take a look at some of the young up-and-coming players who may make an impact this season.
Defensive End Corey Wootton
Most Bears fans have thrown their hands up in disgust over Wootton and have written him off as an overrated one-hit wonder best remembered for injuries and knocking Brett Favre out cold.
That's a major mistake, because Wootton is now fully healthy and has played well all throughout training camp. He had a sack and a forced fumble in the opener against the Colts.
At 6'6", 270 pounds, Wootton is a poor man's Julius Peppers: he's big, fast and strong and is hard to block on the edge. Granted, he's not the athletic freak that Peppers is, but his combination of size and speed will ensure he's productive for the Bears for the next few years.
Most Bears fans are enamored with Shea McClellin, but Wootton is the best DE prospect on the roster, as he is easily the most complete.
Safety Chris Conte
Chris Conte is not playing at 100 percent yet due to a recent shoulder injury, but he had a solid game against the Colts. His play is only going to get better as he gains more confidence as a starter in this defense. He has good size at 6'2", 208 pounds, and he can cover like a cornerback.
As he improves, he'll be able to match up better with big receivers and defend against athletic tight ends.
The Bears have had a void at safety for nearly a decade, and Conte is the guy who will finally fill it.
Wide Receiver Alshon Jeffery
Putting Alshon Jeffery in here is almost a redundant point, because he's been the talk of the town since he arrived in Chicago. Jeffery has exceeded the hype and is now positioning himself to be the future No. 1 receiver in this offense.
Brandon Marshall is the Bears' main go-to guy, but Jeffery's time will be here sooner rather than later, and he's only going to improve as he gains more confidence.
Jeffery's size-and-speed combination make him a potent weapon for this Chicago offense.
Defensive Tackle Stephen Paea
Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea is about to emerge onto the scene in a big way. Paea is the Bears' most complete defensive tackle, and he will be attending the Pro Bowl on a regular basis before long.
Paea is extremely strong and very athletic, a unique combination for any DT. He also has the versatility to play either the nose tackle or the under tackle in the Bears defense.
He came on strong at the end of last season and had a very strong camp before being slowed by a minor ankle sprain.
Paea, combined with Henry Melton, could form one of the best DT tandems in the NFL over the next five years.
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