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Bowen tabs Trubisky, Cohen as breakout performers


In a column on, former NFL safety Matt Bowen includes two Bears among 10 rookies league-wide who are primed to break out in Year 2.

Bowen lists quarterback Mitchell Trubisky among five rookies who could make significant jumps in 2018 and running back Tarik Cohen as one of "the next five."

Bowen notes that Trubisky "showed flashes of his athleticism and arm talent" last year as a rookie when he passed for 2,193 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 248 yards and two TDs while starting the final 12 games.

"He showed the ability to anticipate throwing windows," Bowen wrote. "And with [first-year head coach Matt] Nagy & Co. installing a system that will better cater to Trubisky's talent, the arrow is pointing up on the former No. 2 overall pick."

Bowen also mentions that Trubisky will be aided by the arrival of three key free agent additions in receivers Allen Robinson II and Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton.

Bears photographer Jacob Funk chose his best pictures from the first workouts as players return to Halas Hall.

"These are major upgrades for Trubisky compared to the lineup he worked with last season, and Nagy's offense—a modern twist on the West Coast passing game—should jump-start Trubisky's development," Bowen wrote. "Just look at Jared Goff and the Rams hiring Sean McVay as a potential blueprint."

Cohen, meanwhile, looks to build on a highly productive rookie season. Excelling on both offense and special teams, the fourth-round pick rushed for 370 yards and two TDs on 87 carries, caught 53 passes for 358 yards and one TD, averaged 9.4 yards with one touchdown on 29 punt returns and averaged 22.4 yards on 26 kickoff returns.

Cohen also threw a 21-yard TD pass on a halfback option play to tight end Zach Miller in a win over the Ravens, becoming the first Bears rookie running back to throw a touchdown pass since Hall of Famer Gale Sayers in 1965.

"Cohen checked in with 723 yards from scrimmage and three scores in 2017, coming on 87 rushes and 53 catches," Bowen wrote. "But Cohen's electric talent wasn't fully exploited—he didn't see the consistent touches or scripted matchups I expected to see.

"Look for that to change in Nagy's system. Cohen can be the joker in the offensive game plan, a chess piece to expose opposing defenses. Along with his ability as a zone runner, Cohen can be featured on jet sweeps, misdirection plays and screens. He can be flexed out from the formation as a receiver. With a 5-6, 181-pound frame, Cohen can put defenders on skates in the open field."

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