Top-5 Bears impact players

By Julian Nunnery

5. Mike Glennon – Quarterback

In the fifth spot is starting quarterback Mike Glennon. Glennon has paid his dues in his first four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as he has earned the right to start for the Bears this season.

In 2013, Glennon started his career on fire, setting Buccaneers franchise rookie records with 2,608 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns and a passer rating at 83.9, according to the Chicago Bears official website. He continued his steady production until losing his starting role in 2015 to number one pick Jameis Winston in the 2015 NFL draft. In his fifth season at 27 years old, Glennon is primed to have a solid year if he can manage to maintain his starting job over rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

4. Kyle Fuller – Cornerback

After missing the entire 2015-16 season with a knee injury, cornerback Kyle Fuller will look to re-assert himself as a top player in his position this year. In 2015, Fuller led the team with two interceptions and placed fourth in total tackles with 55, according to the Chicago Bears official website.

At age 25, Fuller is young and talented and will be held responsible for matching up with the toughest receivers the Bears will face this season.

His most impressive season was his rookie year in 2014, where he started 14 games and tallied six interceptions and 51 tackles, according to the Chicago Bears official website.

3. Kevin White – Wide receiver

With the loss of the team’s most dependable receiver, Cameron Meredith, due to a knee injury, it is Kevin White’s time to shine. The Bears selected White with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Unfortunately, due to two separate fractures in his left leg, White has only played four regular season games and has yet to live up to his potential. After completing a healthy and productive training camp, he will have his chance to become the Bears number one receiving option.

Head Coach John Fox has voiced his concern with the Bears’ wide receiver position heading into the season.

“I’m not going to say [the receiving] is a weakness, but it’s one we’ve got to figure out quickly,” Fox said, according to a Sept. 4 Bleacher Report.

It will be imperative for White to step up every week and persuade Fox to trust the team’s receiving game. At six-foot-three, 216 pounds, with surprisingly impressive speed, he possesses all the tools to make that happen. He was plagued by injuries and not being the first option on offense. White is ready to produce as the go-to option.

2. Jordan Howard – Running back

If there was one Bears player that had a breakout season last year, it was running back Jordan Howard. As a rookie, he finished second in the league with 1,313 rushing yards, according to the Chicago Bears official website. He started last season as the third-string option but quickly worked his way into the starting lineup and ranked 11th in the league in carries.

Howard was a fifth-round steal for the Bears as the 150th overall pick in the 2016 draft. His solid combination of vision, power and shiftiness enabled him to become the workhorse running back the team needed with the loss of Matt Forte.

At only 22 years old, Howard has the potential to become the Bears long-term starter at running back and a legitimate star in the league.

1. Willie Young – Linebacker

As the best defensive player on the team, linebacker Willie Young will most likely be the largest impact player for the Bears this season. His 7.5 sacks were a team high last season, according to ESPN.

Originally a defensive lineman in his first couple of seasons with the Bears, Young’s switch to outside linebacker last year turned out to be a great move for the team and their defense.

His ability to play against the run and the pass has proved to be particularly useful and strengthened the Bears defensive core. Last season, the defense made significant improvements, ranking in the top 15 in total yards allowed, according to ESPN.

The 31-year-old vet still has a lot of gas left in the tank and provides much needed leadership and experience for the young team.

The Chicago Bears have made the decision to go into a rebuild mode. After the team got rid of former quarterback Jay Cutler, the team has moved on to a younger, more promising roster to change their fortunes around from the previous few seasons.

The last time the Chicago Bears made the playoffs was in 2010 where they won one game before being eliminated.

These five players should play a large impact this season. Also, look for a few young players to make an unexpected jump in their games.

The Bears begin their season against the reigning NFC champions, the Atlanta Falcons. The game will begin noon Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.