The Chicago Bears drop a spot in our NFL power rankings largely due to the ongoing holdout by standout rookie linebacker Roquan Smith.
Smith was one of the premier defenders in this year’s class, and one has to figure Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is eager to get his hands on easily the best linebacker from the draft.
One shouldn’t figure Smith’s holdout last too long, though, as it’s rare to see first-year players hold out well into the regular season. But it is costing him valuable practice time, which is critical for rookie contributors.
Still, Chicago could be a team to watch this year. The Bears added some notable weapons for second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, namely wide receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. They’ll help a lot. And if running back Jordan Howard picks up where he left off last season, newly minted head coach Matt Nagy’s squad could make some serious leaps in 2018.