Top 30 Bears for 2023: Trio of big uglies need to step up
Nate Davis should be an upgrade this season (Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports)

Top 30 Bears for 2023: Trio of big uglies need to step up

by - Senior Writer -

We continue to fly through the top players of 2023 as we have reached the halfway point in this series. This is the area when you not only start to see the stars show up, but most of these players will be the difference makers for the Bears this season.

No one is expecting every one of these players to play at an all-pro level, and realistically they don't have to. They need to improve from day one through the end of the regular season, and if that happens, the Bears will be in a great position. This team is viewed as one of the more improved teams in the league this season, and now it will be up to them to go out and show that.

18. Nate Davis

Having an elite QB will help you win many games, but that QB can only go so far if the offensive line struggles. That has been an ongoing topic for what seems like forever within the Bears organization, and it will continue until there is massive improvement across the board.

To their credit, they did improve as a unit last season, but apart from great run blocking across the board, their pass blocking still needs a ton of work. That is where Nate Davis and some of these new faces come into play as the Bears added the veteran Davis on a free-agent deal. Entering his fifth season and age 26 season, Davis will be making just under seven million this season after helping open up holes for Derrick Henry the past few years.

Davis has been known as a great run-blocker, so he fits nicely with the Bears scheme and what Luke Getsy wants to do. However, his pass blocking stood out a season ago and is something the Bears hope will continue this season. Davis earned a 66.8 grade for the season for his pass-blocking skills and allowed three sacks all season.

In year one of his three-year deal, Davis has been brought in to help stabilize the Bears offensive line and will immediately be thrown into the RG position. Davis is a steady veteran presence who has 54 starts under his belt. That’s the second-most on the line behind center Cody Whitehair. His skill set should prove to be valuable to help cut down on the number of sacks allowed, which is what needs to happen for Justin Fields to be at his best.

17. Teven Jenkins

Sticking with the offensive line, we will move to the left side of the line, where Jenkins will call home. Now in his third year in the league, Jenkins has dealt with his share of injuries and will now move from LT to LG, where he is projected to play long-term.

Since he was drafted in 2021, Jenkins was seen as a massive piece for the Beras offensive line, but one that has yet to reach his potential. Making the switch to Guard may help, as this could be the best thing that has happened to the Bears offensive line. While most players struggle to play a new position, Jenkins didn't and was by far the most consistent player on the offensive line last season. He will now switch to another position but don't expect his level of play to decline now.

While his run blocking is still better than his pass blocking, Jenkins improved in that area as the season went on. As expected, it all comes down to health for Jenkins, and should he stay healthy, he will be as important as anyone on the offensive line.

16. Cody Whitehair

If you are sensing a theme about this column this morning, you are starting to see the offensive linemen come off the board as the most important pieces on this team. Whitehair is no different, as he will anchor the middle of the offensive line and be put in between Jenkins and Davis.

Entering his age 30 season, Whitehair is not only in his eighth NFL season but is the most experienced player on the Bears offensive line. That is something you can't teach, and his production has helped him earn an annual contract of 14 million, so you can see how he is valued across the board.

Not only has Whitehair been the one constant on the Bears offensive line the past few seasons, but he has been one of their more dependable options on what was otherwise a terrible unit. Whitehair struggled last season, especially during the second half, but he also missed four games, so you have to wonder if he was fully healthy in the end.

Regardless, he is an essential veteran presence for this team and comes with the fourth-highest cap hit. Given the influx of youth the team has brought in on the line this season, no one would've had an issue if the Bears moved on from him this offseason. Instead, they elected to keep him around as he is a locker room leader loved by everyone and will be the perfect mentor for many of these young guys.

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