Top 30 Bears for 2023: Talented RB and two newcomers up next
Jerome Miron - USA Today Sports

Top 30 Bears for 2023: Talented RB and two newcomers up next

by - Senior Writer -

As we continue to dive into this Bears roster and look at who the most important players will be, we have now cracked the top 20 for this team. This is where you start getting into the difference makers, as the Bears hope to have many of them this season.

When you look at this list, you will immediately notice one promising rookie showing up, along with two players that will be crucial to the success on both sides of the ball. One of the names shouldn't surprise anyone, but the other name may be a shock at first until you can fully understand his importance on the field.

21. Andrew Billings

When the Bears entered the 2023 NFL offseason, they were coming off the worst record in franchise history that landed them the No. 1 pick in the draft. Along with that, the Bears also had the most available money to spend in free agency as they had plenty of holes to address on this team.

Some of the biggest holes fell on the defensive side of the ball, which is to be expected when you look at the defensive stats from a season ago. With that being said, Ryan Poles invested a ton of resources on the defensive side of the ball, including the trenches, where he brought in Andrew Billings as a free agent.

About to enter his eighth season in the league, Billings is one of the rare veterans on the defensive side, which will be huge for this team. The former Cincinnati Bengal and Clevland Brown, Billings, was with the Raiders in 2022, where he had one of the best seasons of his career.

Billings played in 14 games and totaled a career-high 39 tackles (three for a loss), one sack, and three QB hits. He also was a menace on the line as he did a great job of clogging up the middle to stop the run, which was a massive issue for the Bears last season. Coming off the season he had, a one-year 2.8 million dollar contract is a bargain, and Poles is hoping that the deal pans out.

Chicago is looking for Billings to duplicate what he did with the Raiders in 2023, and that alone will be a massive upgrade for the team this season. With just 4.5 sacks in his career, don't expect him to rush the passer, but Billings should provide a sizeable upgrade with his massive size, standing at 6-foot-1 and 311 pounds.

20. Gervon Dexter

Not only did the Bears need to focus on improving their lackluster pass rush from a season ago, but they also needed to get better at stopping the run allowing nearly 160 yards per game on five yards per carry last season. Both those numbers ranked near the bottom of the NFL, which was a big reason why the Bears struggled across the board.

Knowing the needs on the defensive side, the Bears wasted no time drafting defense and went with the former University standout Gervon Dexter in the second round. The 6-6 310 Dexter may be a rookie, but he comes with plenty of potential as the Bears are hoping he can turn into something close to Akiem Hicks when he was in Chicago.

Dexter was one of the best prep prospects before committing to Florida and then went on to put together three solid years with the Gators. His final season was arguably his best which helped him land a second-round selection. He totaled 55 tackles (four for a loss), with two sacks, an interception, and a pass breakup. Not only that, but it was his second season with at least 50 tackles which has become a rarity for DTs.

Even if the production may not be where most fans would like it, Dexter often gave offensive linemen fits, so they had to double and triple-team him at times to neutralize him. With Poles focussing on improving the trenches, Dexter falls into that category but must work to see the field.

Yes, he may be an immense talent, but with Billings and others on this roster, he must show he deserves a spot on the field before seeing the field. The 21-year-old should play himself into a more prominent role as the season wears on, and he should become a valuable part of the defensive rotation.

19. Khalil Herbert

We have cracked the top 20 and are shifting the focus to the offense, where Khalil Herbert is next on this list. Coming off a solid second NFL season, all eyes will be on Herbert in the offense this season as he will most likely step in to fill the role that David Montgomery had.

Entering his third season, Herbert is about to be a feature back in the NFL for the first time and is coming off an excellent sophomore season. He played a significant role in the Bears No. 1 rushing attack and did a great job filling in when Montgomery went down. This season will look vastly different for him as he will not only be filling in but will be the lead back when the season starts.

Herbert was one of the most effective running backs in the league. He led all running backs in yards per attempt (5.7) and showed plenty of play-making abilities once he hit the open field. Herbert was sidelined for four games after suffering a hip injury in Week 10, but he returned in time to wrap up what was an impressive year.

Not only will Herbert find himself with a much more significant role this season, but he is the perfect back for the Luke Getsy Zone scheme on offense. Granted, the 5.7 YPC will not last throughout the duration of this season, but it shouldn't matter. Herbert will be the team's No. 1 back in the RB by committee approach, and he should have a 1000-yard season within his reach.

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