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Getting to Know the 2021 Chicago Bears: Linebackers

Chicago Bears

Training camp is open! And there’s a certain buzz surrounding the Chicago Bears as they prepare for the 2021 season with workouts and practices at Halas Hall. So with camp in full swing and the preseason approaching, let’s take an early look at who’s on the team right now.

Previous: Quarterbacks. Running backs. Wide receivers. Tight ends. Offensive linemen. Special teams. Pass rushers. Defensive line.
Today: Linebackers

Projected Starters:

Roquan Smith

•   2020 stats: 139 total tackles (98 solo), 18 tackles-for-loss, 6 QB Hits, 4 sacks, 7 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble (1 recovery); 67.2 overall grade from PFF (17th of 83 qualifying linebackers)

Danny Trevathan

•   2020 stats: 113 total tackles (67 solo), 3 tackles-for-loss, 2 QB hits, 5 passes defended, 1 forced fumble; 39.9 grade from PFF (76th of 83)

The New Guys:

Alec Ogletree is already making a positive impact with a handful of interceptions coming in the handful of days since he has been in practice. Christian Jones isn’t necessarily a new guy. After all, he played with the Bears from 2014-17. But after spending the 2018-20 seasons in Detroit, Jones returns to the right side of a rivalry that’s been dominated by Chicago since Matt Nagy’s arrival.

Don’t Forget About:

Joel Iyiegbuniwe and Josh Woods appear to be two peas in a pod. Two young linebackers who have grown up through the system and cut their teeth on special teams should be ready to make the leap into a bigger role. Think along the lines of how Nick Kwiatkoski once climbed the ladder. But neither player seems ready to grasp onto the Kwiatkoski role. If they were, then the Bears wouldn’t have gone after Ogletree and Jones as depth pieces. I’d argue those two players could be fighting for one spot on the roster.

What to Watch For:

Will the veteran presences of Ogletree and Jones push a young inside linebacker off the roster?

We Really Like:

Roquan Smith is good at football.

We Might Be Worried About:

What’s left in the tank for Danny Trevathan? The veteran linebacker brings heart, muscle, and hustle to the middle of the Bears defense. But there were times early last season when Trevathan looked a half-step slow. Those moments were fewer and far between as the season went on, which suggests those early season moments were something of an anomaly. Even still … I hope Trevathan can contribute as much as he would like to this season. No. 59 looks good at camp, so here’s to having it carry over into games of consequence.

2021 Forecast:

Oh, look! Another defensive position group that is a strength. It’s almost as if the more resources that are poured into a position room, the more likely it is to be viewed as a strong point for a team. I’m more comfortable with the players the Bears have here now than I was a year ago at this time. Experience matters. And can Chicago’s defense be as good as we think without a strong inside linebacker presence? I think not…

Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)


Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.