Bryan Perez

Bears secondary shines in Pro Football Focus Hall of Fame Game grades

usatsi_10471365.jpg
USA Today

Bears secondary shines in Pro Football Focus Hall of Fame Game grades

Javon Wims may have been the headline-grabber from the Chicago Bears' 17-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2018 Hall of Fame Game, but it was three young players in the defensive secondary who earned rave reviews from Pro Football Focus.

Doran Grant, 25, had the best overall grade of all Bears players with a 91.5. He excelled in coverage (91.9), snagging an interception off an ill-advised throw by Ravens rookie Lamar Jackson.  Grant played 31 snaps.

Former fourth-round pick Deiondre' Hall, 24, played 44 snaps and finished the Hall of Fame Game with an 85.4 overall grade. He looks much more comfortable at free safety and scored well in coverage (80.8).

Deon Bush made his presence felt early in the game when he broke up a pass by walloping a Ravens receiver with a clean, but brutal, hit. It was part of a good all-around night for him, one that resulted in an 84.8 grade. 

Other Bears defenders who graded well include nose tackle John Jenkins (77.9) and defensive linemen Nick Williams (76.2) and Abdullah Anderson (75.7).

Bears QBs enjoyed high passer rating when targeting rookie WR Javon Wims in Hall of Fame Game

Bears QBs enjoyed high passer rating when targeting rookie WR Javon Wims in Hall of Fame Game

No player had a better preseason debut than rookie seventh-round pick, Javon Wims.

The big-bodied wide receiver (6'4, 215 pounds) had a breakout 2017 season with the Georgia Bulldogs when he totaled 45 catches for 720 yards and seven touchdowns. But despite his imposing frame and huge upside, his limited history of production caused him to slip into the last round of April's NFL draft.

Chicago made a concerted effort to upgrade wide receiver this offseason and Wims was part of that plan, even though he wasn't necessarily a headliner. In fact, he started training camp as a guy fighting for a roster spot. 

If Thursday night's performance against the Ravens in the Hall of Fame Game is any indication of his potential impact on the field, he won't have to fight too hard to make the team.

Wims led all Bears receivers with seven receptions for 89 yards and looked more like a first-round pick than a late-round flier. He made his quarterback look good, too.

Third-string quarterback Tyler Bray enjoyed a 97.5 passer rating when targeting Wims, according to Pro Football Focus.

Interestingly, the Bears used Wims out of the slot more than on the outside, as PFF noted in their tweet. His usage against the Ravens could be a sign of how former first-round pick Kevin White will be deployed during the regular season.

Wims' strong start to the preseason has put players like Bennie Fowler and Josh Bellamy on notice. 

Chicago's next live action will be in Cincinnati on August 9 in what is officially the first week of the preseason around the NFL.

Mitch Trubisky named dark-horse to win NFL's Most Improved Player Award

mitch_trubisky_usa_today.jpg
USA Today

Mitch Trubisky named dark-horse to win NFL's Most Improved Player Award

Mitch Trubisky has been compared to Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff all offseason as a player capable of making a big second-year jump after a somewhat underwhelming rookie season.

Goff had a sensational 2017 campaign after a rookie year that had most analysts questioning whether he was already a bust. He responded by throwing for 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns en route to a miraculous Rams playoff run.

The Bears certainly hope Trubisky will experience similar growth in 2018, and according to a recent poll of football writers, Trubisky is the dark-horse to win the same award Goff received last year: Most Improved Player.

Trubisky's rookie season last year wasn't awful, but it wasn't good by any stretch, either. In 12 starts for the Bears, Trubisky threw only seven touchdown passes, posted a passer rating of 77.5 and went 4-8.

However, Trubisky also had the weakest corps of receivers in the NFL. In the offseason, the Bears added a number of passing-game weapons, including wide receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Trey Burton. Chicago also has a new offensive-minded head coach in Matt Nagy.

The arrow is pointing up for Trubisky heading into the 2018 regular season. He's been adjusting to the highs and lows of a training camp that includes the installation of a completely new offensive system while building timing with a plethora of new pass catchers, but he's handled himself with professionalism and class. He's the leader of the Bears. Now, he has to prove to the guys in the locker room that he can turn offseason hype into sustained scoring drives on the field.

Trubisky will make his preseason debut Thursday, August 9 against the Bengals.