If the Chicago Bears’ defense is going to reach its potential, it will need some surprise contributions from some players you wouldn’t expect to come up with big years.
To be more specific, the Bears need to get something special from their pass-rushing outside linebackers – a position group that doesn’t strike a lot of confidence with fans these days. But perhaps rookie Kylie Fitts can help change the perception with a strong start to his professional career.
Head Coach Matt Nagy appears to have come away impressed with what Fitts has shown thus far during training camp, though he’d like for the rookie standout to ease up on the friendly fire.
“I have to sometimes remind him to make sure to stay away from the quarterback and the throwing motion and he actually came up to me and apologized for it,” Nagy said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “But you can’t fault a kid for trying to play hard, trying to get the quarterback. So I told him, ‘When we get to the preseason, do it as much as you want.'”
The Bears drafted Fitts in the sixth-round, but he could turn out to be a draft weekend steal as he possesses skills and attributes normally found in players selected in earlier rounds. Back in May, we wrote that Fitts embodied the classic “Monsters of the Midway” mentality. And if he can put together a strong preseason, we could see his path to success mirror that of second-year safety Eddie Jackson.
You like to see rookies stand out for working hard, though I’m sure the Bears’ coaching staff (as well as the quarterbacks) wouldn’t mind if Fitts were to pump the brakes when coming at them in the backfield with full force during practices. Still, good habits in practice tend to bleed over onto gameday. And if Fitts can do just that, then the Bears will feel good about what their sixth-round pick could bring to the table in his first year as a pro and could feel better about what the pass rush has in store for opposing quarterbacks.