The Chicago Bears didn’t have a Pro Bowl representative last season. Though, at 5-11, it’s easy to make a case that they didn’t really deserve one. HOWEVER, the Bears’ Pro Bowl drought could soon be coming to an end – and maybe even with a first-timer.
Long-time NFL player personnel guru and current NFL Network analyst Gil Brandt recently took a shot at projecting a first-time Pro Bowl player for each of the NFC’s 16 teams in 2018, and for the Bears, he chose outside linebacker Leonard Floyd.
“He’s a talented guy who can drop into coverage or rush with his hand on the ground and should play much better this season,” Brandt writes. “He also has become much stronger since coming into the league.”
As someone who worked as a front office executive for nearly three decades, Brandt certainly knows talent. And Floyd is certainly talented enough make Brandt’s educated guess look good later in 2018. Of course, health will play a role in whether or not Floyd reaches these lofty expectations. Floyd has missed 10 games in his first two seasons, and that’s a bit troubling considering his importance to this defense. However, Floyd was productive last season despite injury problems that limited him to just 582 defensive snaps over 10 games.
Staying on the field will go a long way toward Floyd taking a trip to Honolulu or wherever they’re hosting the Pro Bowl these days. In fact, Mike Clay’s projections have Floyd coming through with 10 sacks in a 940-snap season. It would be the first double-digit sack season of Floyd’s career and the first 10-sack season for a Bears player Willie Young picked up exactly 10 in 2014. Floyd said he will be a full-go for training camp, so keep that in mind when thinking about Brandt’s bold prediction.
Recent history suggests Floyd could be the breakout star the Bears’ defense needs. And if it happens, he could be the latest defender to make significant leaps in production during the third year in Vic Fangio’s defense. Cornerback Kyle Fuller, safety Adrian Amos, and nose tackle Eddie Goldman each put together their best seasons while in the third season playing in Fangio’s scheme. It doesn’t take much to imagine Floyd being the next man up to follow in the pattern.