With free agency, the draft, and the post-draft free-agent rush out of the way, we can now shift our attention to the ridiculously early waves of power rankings that are headed in our direction. And with that in mind, you’ll want to check out how Peter King (NBC Sports) ranks the 32 teams in the NFL.
Let’s zero-in on King’s thoughts regarding the reigning NFC North champion Chicago Bears, whom he ranks as the NFL’s ninth best team at this moment:
“How good quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will be in year three is shrouded in mystery, but the Bears can still be the best team in the NFC North with a quarterback who’s 18th or 22nd in the league.”
WOW! King thinks so highly of the 2019 Bears, it might not matter who is quarterbacking in his eyes … and I’m not quire sure how to read/interpret.
On one hand, there’s no denying the Bears are loaded going into the 2019 season. They won 12 games, a division title, and hosted a playoff game. They are also returning some key players, like the NFL’s Coach of the Year (as voted by the media), Executive of the Year (as voted by his peers), eight Pro Bowlers (including four first-team All-Pro honorees), and a handful of Pro Bowl alternates who could be on their way to Pro Bowl status if they can make it back-to-back solid seasons while playing under the spotlight of being a hunted first-place club.
Meanwhile, free agency helped filled holes at a moderate cost, while the draft class has been widely praised. Heck, even their undrafted free agent signings have been viewed as absolute steals. Save for the unenviable kicking situation, what’s not to love about the Bears this coming season?
Then again, the perception that Trubisky could be a quarterback who ranks among the lower third in the league is unnerving. Trubisky made major strides in his development last year and should only get better as he has an increased command and understanding of Matt Nagy’s offense. But I guess there is a chance he doesn’t. And if Trubisky stumbles, tumbles, or even takes a slight step back, it’s tough to envision regression not swinging the division or putting the Bears’ potential playoff spot in peril. It makes me nervous just thinking about it, and that’s less than ideal considering we’re hanging out in the middle of May.
I suppose we could take the alternative view here. Let’s try that. OK, ready?
If the Bears can still be the best team in the NFC North with a quarterback who’s in the bottom half of the league’s rankings, how great can they be if Trubisky takes another step forward in his development? At that point, we’re no longer talking about being the best team in the NFC North. Nope. Instead, it wouldn’t be inconceivable to be discussing a sure-fire Super Bowl contender. Ahhhh, that’s more like it.
The rest of King’s post-draft power rankings are full of surprises. Because even though the Bears coming in as a top-10 team isn’t a shocker, King still has them fifth among NFC teams. We figured the Rams (4th) and Saints (6th) were at the top of the charts, but the 49ers (7th … seriously?), and Eagles (8th … 🙄) are also ahead of the Bears at this point. Even still, the Bears are the highest-ranked NFC North team, with the Vikings (10th, c’mon now!), Packers (14th), Lions (27th lol) rounding out the division.
King knows his stuff and has opinions that are well-respected. That he thinks so highly of the Bears at this point of the offseason is re-assuring, but we have a long way to go before we know the accuracy of his prognostications. Can’t it just be training camp already?