#3 James Daniels
There’s been an assumption that Daniels will naturally slide into the starting center role and stay there for half a decade. Hell, it’s an assumption I’ve made on the radio in Des Moines with Daniels-centric hosts Trent Condon and Ken Miller.
But while Cody Whitehair struggled early with snaps, his ability to call out protections and lead this unit was a key to their success in 2018. The center is the most underrated position on the NFL roster. (Just look what happens to teams when they lose their starters there.) Daniels is now sliding into his natural position. But is he a natural leader?
#2 Pat O’Donnell
P.O.D. was having his best punting game as a Bear in the Eagles playoff loss until a nightmarish shank late allowed Nick Foles a short field for the go-ahead touchdown drive. Here’s what someone who works inside the organization texted me a few weeks ago:
He looks different. He looks good. He looks confident.
With a defense this good, long fields will kill opponents. The Bears need a different, good, confident O’Donnell.
#1 Cordarrelle Patterson
The Bears were last in the league in kickoff return average last season and added one of the two or three best kick returners in the game. Patterson’s signing should lead to a huge improvement in field position from day one.
But Patterson also had 21 catches for 247 yards last season in New England and paired that with 42 carries for 228 yards. This is an exceedingly productive offensive weapon who may cover some of the production the club is currently lacking from a struggling tight end group.