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Chalk Talk


Chalk Talk: Who will make biggest strides?

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

Which member of the Bears' 2018 draft class do you think will make the biggest strides this year?
Doug F.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

I think that inside linebacker Roquan Smith will be the best player from the 2018 draft class and earn his first Pro Bowl invitation this season. But it's hard to say he will make the biggest strides from last year because he had a very strong rookie season, leading the Bears in tackles and being voted a Pro Bowl alternate. So to answer your question, I will predict that receiver Anthony Miller makes the biggest strides in his second season. Miller has said that he played most of his rookie year with one arm due to a shoulder injury that required offseason surgery. Assuming the second-round pick from Memphis recovers from the injury and remains healthy, I see Miller having a highly productive 2019 season and emerging as one of the most dangerous weapons on offense.

Did I hear that Bilal Nichols is slimming down? Does that mean he could be more of an outside pass rusher with more speed?
Alexandra M.

During a recent appearance on the Bears All-Access Radio Show, Bilal Nichols said that he was planning to get stronger and leaner in order to use his power just as much as his quickness. He was utilized both at defensive end and tackle last season as a rookie. I expect the Bears to continue to take advantage of his versatility this year, though we will have to wait to see exactly how new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano chooses to employ the second-year pro from Delaware.

Will items such as a helmet, booklet or cards be allowed inside the Bears100 Celebration Weekend to be autographed?

Yes, memorabilia such as footballs, jerseys and prints will be permitted into the Bears100 Celebration Weekend to be autographed. For those who don't know, the event commemorating the Bears' centennial season will be held June 7-9 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The largest gathering of current and former Bears will feature free autographs, panel discussions and much more.

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