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Chalk Talk: Which Bears rookie will make biggest impact?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

Which Bears rookie do you think will make the biggest impact this season?
Philip K.
Hammond, Indiana

I think that second-round picks Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker will both become dependable starters at cornerback and safety, respectively, but I believe that receiver Velus Jones Jr. will make the biggest impact by a Bears rookie this season—in part because of the position he plays and the opportunities he'll receive. Watching Jones in offseason practices, he certainly looks the part—he's fast and explosive and has good hands. Scouts have said that his No. 1 strength is generating yards after the catch, and you could see that aspect of his game on the practice field during minicamp and OTAs. Jones also seems like he's NFL-ready; he took advantage of the extra year of eligibility that college football players were granted last year due to COVID-19, blossoming as a playmaker at Tennessee. Jones especially honed his route-running skills in what was his sixth season playing college football, more than doubling his career totals with 62 receptions, 807 yards and seven touchdowns. He's also a dangerous return specialist who could give the Bears a boost in that area as well.

Who is an under-the-radar free agent the Bears signed who could emerge as a regular contributor this season?
Lynn P.
Homewood, Illinois

One player who could fit that description is nickel back Tavon Young. He signed with the Bears in March after spending his first six NFL seasons with the Ravens. And while he was plagued by injuries in 2017, 2019 and 2020, he rebounded last year to play in all 17 games with seven starts, compiling 35 tackles, one interception and three pass breakups. His lone pick came against Patrick Mahomes and helped the Ravens rally for a 36-35 win over the Chiefs. NFL teams generally play more snaps in their nickel than their base defense, which makes the nickel position a vital part of the unit. If he stays healthy, Young is an experienced veteran who could be a pleasant surprise for the Bears in 2022.

I'm thrilled to see the Bears close the season with four of five games at home. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Have the Bears ever finished a season with so many home games?
Jason N.
Mount Airy, North Carolina

This season marks the first time that the Bears will play four of their final five games at home since 1969, when they hosted the Colts and Browns at Wrigley Field, visited the 49ers in San Francisco and then played the Packers and Lions in Chicago. This year, the Bears are scheduled to finish their season by hosting the Packers, Eagles and Bills at Soldier Field, visiting the Lions in Detroit and then returning home to play the season finale versus the Vikings.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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