I believe that to properly analyze the 2017 IDPs you need to have an idea of how they’ll ALL perform so you can benchmark and compare them effectively. So I built a model using past performance, efficiency, scheme information and coaching tendencies to predict what will happen in 2017. I’ve applied that to my best estimates for how teams will use players this year which gives a projection and ranking for all IDPs. You can read more about what I did and how here.
Isn’t John Fox supposed to be some kind of defensive guru? It didn’t seem much like it to me last season. Of course there were injuries, but the whole team was just very, very disappointing. I’d say they only had two really useful IDPs: Akiem Hicks, Jerrell Freeman and a few others at various points of the year who couldn’t sustain it.
There is hope though. They should have fewer injuries this year and be a bit more reliable, and the stat crew is a positive. The Bears are heavy on solos (fourth-ranked in 2016) and light on assists (31st-ranked last year) so it does depend on your league settings but for tackle-heavy leagues they’re a good bet.
None. I do not think any Bears IDPs will be elite options this season. That’s not altogether surprising either. If ‘star’ means top half of top tier at each position there are really only 30 or so stars in IDP. Some teams just aren’t going to have any of them.
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Akiem Hicks, DE
Hicks isn’t a star pass rusher, but he is an effective one due to volume. Last season he played 931 snaps which put him sixth amongst ends. He managed seven sacks too, which is by no means bad. I think he continues to be an every-down but unspectacular player under John Fox and so he’s ranked as my #22 end for 2017.
Key stats: 780 snaps, 32 solo tackles,158 assists, six sacks, three passes defended.
Jerrell Freeman, LB
There is some uncertainty at the position in Chicago, but the one thing I think we know is that Freeman will continue to be the top linebacker after he was the top option in 2016. He’s projected as my #19 linebacker.
Key stats: 883 snaps, 87 solo tackles, 25 assists, two sacks, six passes defended, one INT.
Ugh. The Bears are a classic split safety team which means neither of their starting safeties will have the opportunity to put up elite stats – although both will likely be useful at times. I expect Demps will be the better option and finish as the #19 safety with Amos down at #48, but it’s entirely possible this is flipped around.
Demps key stats: 987 snaps, 66 solo tackles, 15 assists, one sacks, seven passes defended, two INTs.
Amos key stats: 727 snaps, 44 solo tackles, 12 assists, one sack, seven passes defended, four INTs.
Eddie Goldman, DT
Poor Eddie has only played around 700 snaps in two years with some injury issues but I like his talent and he seems finally fit with just journeyman competing for snaps. I expect him to be the #20 tackle which will make him useful in 2-DT leagues.
Key stats: 598 snaps, 24 solo tackles, 13 assists, four sacks, one pass tipped.
Nick Kwiatkowski has got a lot of buzz but the reality is he’s third choice at best when Trevathan is fit. The only question is how it is until that happens. I’ve got Kwiatkowski playing half to two-thirds of the season which is obviously a huge advantage for now, but be aware he could run out of rope very quickly. Assuming that sort of split of the job, I predict Kwiatkowski will be the #45 linebacker with Trevathan down at #68.
Trevathan key stats: 612 snaps, 63 solo tackles, 21 assists, two sacks, three passes defended, one INT.
Kwiatowski key stats: 376 snaps, 28 solo tackles, seven assists, two passes defended, one INT.
Leonard Floyd, LB
In most leagues he won’t be much use as a pass rusher even though I do like him and he was excellent at times last year. For what it’s worth he’s my #68 linebacker.
Key stats: 705 snaps,36 solo tackles, ten assists, eight sacks, four passes defended, one INT.
Prince Amukamara, CB
Amukamara is not quite the tackler he was in his younger years but still a solid player. I have him as my #30 corner.
Key stats: 970 snaps, 45 solo tackles, seven assists, 13 passes defended, three INTs.
Bears fans will be used to their team looking like this. They’re fairly sound and don’t have that many glaring weakness on defense – but there’s just very little to get excited about and frankly the whole season already feels like it could be wasted in a holding pattern waiting for John Fox to be sacked in favour of someone with some idea of what innovation and energy should be like.
Those are my predictions as of right now. Obviously things will change as we get a better idea of who will play and how going towards the season. If you disagree with any assertions here feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter (@TomDegenerate) and I’ll be happy to discuss.
Thanks for reading.