One of the surprise standouts from last season's rookie class was safety Eddie Jackson, who quickly ascended to a starting role in training camp and became the kind of playmaker the secondary has been lacking for several years. Now entering his second season, Jackson is expected to make a jump from pleasant surprise to one of the NFL's best young safeties.
Despite Jackson's high level of play in 2017, his draft class will always be defined by the success of quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The Bears will only go as far as the former North Carolina Tar Heel takes them, and if Jackson's player comp for Trubisky is correct, a lot of wins are coming to Chicago.
In a recent appearance on SiriusXM's NFL Radio, Jackson said Trubisky reminds him of a surefire Hall-of-Famer.
"One person I think I could compare him to is Drew Brees," Jackson said. "He has that chip on his shoulder. He wants to win."
High praise indeed.
Brees is one of the NFL's all-time greatest quarterbacks. He's thrown for 70,445 yards and 488 touchdowns through his 17 years as a pro and is best known for his pinpoint accuracy and incredible leadership skills. He led the Saints to a win over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, earning MVP honors completing 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns.
Trubisky has a long way to go before he can be in the same category as Brees and the NFL's best starting quarterbacks, but the Bears front office has done everything in its power to set him up for a big 2018 season. He's expected to have a huge jump in production, but he still could be a season or two away from hitting his long-term stride. Brees, for example, didn't throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season until his sixth year in the league (first with the Saints). He has four seasons over 5,000 yards since that time.
Trubisky threw for 2,193 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 starts, numbers that if spread across 16 games would've equated to 2,924 yards and nine touchdowns.
With coach Matt Nagy calling plays and receivers like Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and tight end Trey Burton in his arsenal, Trubisky has a chance to reach the 4,000-yard mark faster than Brees and rewrite the single-season Bears passing records as soon as this year.