Top 30 Bears for 2023: A promising DB, an enigma at WR, and a team leader
Gordon should progress well in his second pro season (Bob Breidenbach - USA Today Sports)

Top 30 Bears for 2023: A promising DB, an enigma at WR, and a team leader

by - Senior Writer -

Wednesday was all about the Big Uglies upfront and their importance to this team. Today, we get more into a skill position side of things where a pair of secondary members join a promising young WR as some of the more essential pieces for the Bears.

While each position is arguably as important as the next, it is the skill positions that garner the most attention, as those are the positions that do the most damage on the field. The Bears have done a great job addressing their skill position needs, and that isn't something that could be said a few years ago.

With a new direction and new goals in place for Ryan Poles, he has taken it upon himself to drastically transform this roster and is trying his best to create a team that will not only be playoff contenders but NFC contenders. This season will be a crucial step in reaching those goals.

15. Kyler Gordon

After the Bears lost Kyle Fuller in free agency two years ago, they knew their secondary had taken a hit and would have to work hard to find a replacement. 2022 second-round pick Kyler Gordon is viewed as his potential replacement as he looks to put an up-and-down rookie season behind him for 2023.

Not only was Gordon thrown into an immediate starting spot for a struggling unit, but he found out the hard way just how difficult playing CB in the NFL can be. For example, you can point to his game against the Packers as Aaron Rodgers torched Gordon. After that, Gordon started to settle in, and following a concussion, he finished the season on a positive note.

Gordon totaled 71 tackles (two for a loss), with three interceptions, six passes defended, and a forced fumble. Two interceptions came in his final three games against Pro Bowl quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen. Gordon also played outstanding run defense, an often overlooked trait for the secondary.

Although it is unclear whether Gordon will be back on the outside or in the Nickel corner position this season, it shouldn't matter. This is someone who will be crucial to the Bear's success, and if the final month is a sign of things to come, look out.

14. Chase Claypool

When you look at the WR room, you immediately notice how different it looks as several new faces join this team. While Claypool isn't a new face, he is entering his first full season in Chicago after a dreadful nine weeks with the Bears in 2022.

Acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers mid-season, Claypool never seemed to fit in once he arrived in Chicago. The former All-Pro struggled to learn the playbook, and he didn't provide the Bears with much production at all when he was on the field. This offseason was supposed to be the one to get him on track, but once again, it has been a challenging offseason, to say the least, for Claypool.

Not only has he been hurt, forcing him to miss some time earlier this spring, but there are reports that he is still having trouble learning this playbook. That is a huge concern as he will become a liability. When you look at his peripherals, Claypool has the size, speed, and athleticism to be one of the better WRs in the game and now has a young QB to work with.

He is expected to land on the outside with DJ Moore and will be the key Red Zone WR option, given his overall height and jumping ability. The better Claypool is, the better the Bears offense will be, as he will provide them with something that none of the other receivers on this roster have.

13. Eddie Jackson

To his credit, Eddie Jackson finally started to look like the old Eddie Jackson last season after two horrendous seasons. The 29-year-old and highest-paid safety in the league is entering his seventh season with the Bears and is the crucial piece to making the secondary an elite unit.

Not only did he have a bounce-back season last year, but after Robert Quinn and Roquon Smith were traded, Jackson proved he could be a defensive leader, which he was despite their struggles. After not notching an interception in the previous two seasons, Jackson led the Bears with four picks. Jackson added 80 tackles, including one for a loss and six pass breakups, and led the team with two forced fumbles.

He thrived in the Matt Eberflus defensive scheme and started showing signs of being the player he was back in 2018-19 when the Bears gave him the contract they did. You also have to consider that he missed the season's final five games with a foot injury, so the numbers he put up would have been better.

The Bears are not only getting a healthy Jackson back but one that showed he still has a lot left to give while also being the leader of a young team. A fully healthy Jackson should be a force for Chicago’s secondary, as evidenced by his performance last season. Jackson returned to his playmaking ways last year, leading the team in interceptions, and they’ll be looking for more of the same in 2023. That will only improve this defense and be a problem for the rest of the league.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
Post your comments!