Now that we are about halfway through the regular season, it is time to start considering which players are deserving of the Pro Bowl. For this series, we will look at the three most deserving candidates for each team. Obviously, some teams will have more or less than three players selected, but for simplicity purposes, we will discuss the top three. The Chicago Bears are the focus for this article.
Top Midseason Chicago Bears Pro Bowl Candidates
If one player deserves to make Pro Bowl on the 2-6 Bears, it most certainly is Jerrell Freeman. Freeman is one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL. He is one off-season signing that is giving the Bears hope for the future with John Fox. Freeman leads the team with 52 solo tackles. The next closest player on the team has 33. The former undrafted free agent signing by the Tennessee Titans ranks ninth in the NFL in solo tackles.
Freeman is a force against the run and has four tackles for loss. The talented linebacker also can defend tight ends and running backs, making him one of the best overall players at his position in every facet of the game. He is the ultimate leader in the middle of the Bears defense, and he is a perfect fit moving forward with this defense. This would be the first Pro Bowl for Freeman, and the fifth-year player deserves it.
Kyle Long is arguably the most talented player on the Bears roster. The former Oregon Duck has seemingly played every position along the offensive line, but he has now settled in at right guard. At that position Long is essentially the only stable piece on the Bears offensive line. Long has received the praise in the past, and he is a three-time Pro Bowler. With a few more strong performances, Long may be able to add in number four in 2016.
Jordan Howard would likely miss the Pro Bowl if the season were to end today, but if anyone could make a run to the Pro Bowl it would be him. The former Indiana Hoosier has essentially been one of the most valuable players on the Bears roster.
Howard has carried the ball 20 or more time in just two games this season. In those games, he has 264 yards, one touchdown, and the Bears are 2-0. In their six losses, he has just 50 total carries. Still, on those limited carries, Howard has 241 yards and he’s averaged 4.8 yards per carry. For the season Howard is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, which is tied for second in the NFL. He also leads the league in broken tackles.
The Bears are going to depend on their defense but they need to learn that riding Howard is what can lead them to success for the rest of the season. It could lead to the rookie making a Pro Bowl in his first NFL season.
Pernell McPhee has only played in two games this season but he is a player to watch in the second half. He already has a sack and his emergence on the Bears defense may make that unit a force. Willie Young leads the defense in sacks and tackles for loss, but would likely need a stronger second half to get real consideration.