For Stephen Paea, his rookie year was plagued by injuries and inconsistent play. He didn't make his NFL debut until Week Six and he celebrated that occasion when he recorded a sack of Donovan McNabb.
This season, the Bears are expecting big things out of Paea. Early in camp, the 24-year-old has seen significant playing time with the No. 1's alongside Henry Melton at defensive tackle.
Although the Bears view Paea as key to their future, the former Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year knows he needs to work on his consistency if he wants to achieve success in the NFL.
"Being consistent with the plays because sometimes I'll do a good job and then three plays later, the same play will come and I'll be off-balance with my step. I just go to be consistent."
Watching veterans like Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman in practice has been a major learning tool in Paea's young career.
"Peppers for instance, he's very consistent every single day in practice, so seeing that from a 10-year veteran, he takes pride in that and I take pride in that. Coming to practice every day I watch him do bags and he does each drill the same. I'm trying to look up to those guys."
With one year of experience under his belt, Paea could now be a mentor for rookie defensive end Shea McClellin. But first, he has to make sure former Boise State star gets a taste of what he went through last year in Bourbonnais.
"We write down our snacks and it's been a two page list of snacks. That's a good start right there. We all went through it and he's going to go through it this year. It's all part of the rookie experience."
We asked you to ask us anything about the White Sox and you delivered in a big way. We got so many questions, we had to do two different podcasts! Among the questions here in Part 1: should the White Sox send Yoan Moncada to Triple-A? What players will be traded before the deadline? Who are some sleeper prospects in the minors? Will Jordan Stephens be called up before Michael Kopech? Should Juan Uribe be a team ambassador? What's our all-time White Sox team from 2000 to the present and many more.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
Michael Porter Jr. grabbed some attention when he remarked that he was "perfect fit for today's NBA game" during an appearance on The Will Cain Show.
The interview went a long way towards showing off the uber-confident nature of Porter, who has consistently talked about being the best player in his class throughout the draft process. Porter also remarked that he was "an immediate impact guy," and that he "doesn't want it to take long to be one of the best players in the NBA."
His hubris has been intruiging considering the mystery surrounding the prospect.
During the interview Porter added that he would be open to doing more workouts for NBA front offices ahead of Thursday's NBA Draft. The only workout he has completed so far was his pro day workout in Chicago, and multiple reports have cited that Porter did look good shooting, though he was in an isolated setting with no defenders.
The one thing Porter has not done much throughout the process is talk about his weaknesses, which is somewhat concerning seeing as he has much to improve on. The general consensus is that a healthy Porter can get buckets at will. But if he can improve his ball-handling, rebounding and passing skills, he will be much more than a go-to scorer. Tightening his ball-handling skills is likely the key, as the ability to grab the rebound and push in transition would be a huge boon for Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg's offense.
The biggest question when it comes to Porter on the Bulls is can he fit with Lauri Markkanen? Despite receiving many favorable Kevin Durant and Paul George comparisons leading up to the draft, there is a rising sentiment that his best position in the NBA may be the power forward spot. It is not yet known if he has the foot speed to stay in front of quicker wings in today's NBA. But at six-feet-ten-inches, it is easy to imagine him having a huge advantage against slower power forwards rather than wings. While Markkanen is not currently built to be a full-time center, playing him at the five with Porter at the four would present Hoiberg with a potentially devastating closing lineup.
Versatility is the name of the game in today's league, and Michael Porter Jr. may be the key to unlocking the full potential of Hoiberg's pace-and-space attack.