The Most Overrated and Underrated Chicago Bears

Gene Chamberlain

During Brian Urlacher's reign of terror over offenses and right after he received a big pay boost, he became an obvious target.

One publication's website called him the NFL's most overrated player, based on an anonymous poll.

It was rather ridiculous considering what the Hall of Fame linebacker meant to the cover-2 defensive approach of Lovie Smith. Then again, when you get that much money so much is expected and any small decrease in productivity makes a player overrated.

It's like what people will think of Patrick Mahomes next year if the Chiefs go 10-6 and he throws for only 30 touchown passes. Someone is sure to say he's overrated.

Yet, there really are overrated players on every team based on performance or lack thereof. Sometimes it's not through fault of their own. Injuries or other circumstances cause it.

The Bears have their own versions of overrated players.

They also have underrated players.

There are two factors in play here. It's basically the point where the sliding scale of player production meets upwit h the sliding scale of how a player is rated by team, media and fans.

Most Underrated

3. Eddie Goldman

The Bears were 11th, first and ninth against the run in the last three years with Goldman in the starting lineup at nose tackle for 15 games or more. In his first two years, Goldman missed 15 of 32 starts and missed 11 games entirely due to injuries, and the Bears were 27th and 23rd against the run.

Goldman has never made a Pro Bowl, although he was a first alternate last year. Akiem Hicks draws plenty of fan and media attention in Chicago, and is starting to get some nationally. Goldman largely operates in secret like most nose tackles, and does almost as much for the defensive front as Hicks.

2. Allen Robinson

Being snubbed by Pro Bowl voting last year isn't the only reason Robinson is an underrated player, but it's a good start. He made more receptions than Jarvis Landry, Amari Cooper, Kenny Golladay, Davantae Adams, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Tyreek Hill, but all of those receivers were in the Pro Bowl and Robinson wasn't. His catch percentage on times targeted was better than Landry, Evans, Mecole Hardman and Julio Jones, all receivers who made the Pro Bowl while he didn't. He had more receiving yardage than Adams, Courtland Sutherland, Hill, Hardman, and Jacksonville receiver DJ Chark, and they all made the Pro Bowl while he didn't. Besides all that, he averaged 11.7 yards a reception trying to field passes from a quarterback who could only get 6.1 yards an attempt and had trouble reading defenses. To top it all off, he was the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee and their Good Guy Award winner. Underrated? Maybe he needs to be nominated for sainthood.

1. Trey Burton

Remember, for a moment, what the Bears looked like on offense when they had Burton healthy and playing in 2018. Then remember what they looked like from the playoff game on through 2019 when he either was out of the lineup or playing like a zombie because of groin and calf injuries. It's startling how much of an impact he had. Mitchell Trubisky was much better when he had a dependable target somewhere in the middle of the field to find in addition to Robinson. When he had a threat to get outside and burn a linebacker or strong safety on a downfield route the offense moved better. The running game looked better because Burton was an efficient blocker, although not an overpowering one. He understands angles and timing when he blocks on running plays. The running game couldn't be counted on from week to week last year and the line was a major part, but the tight end blocking also figured into the equation. There were complete sections of the playbook Matt Nagy couldn't use because he didn't have Burton. 

Without Burton, the Bears' offense is on the side of a milk carton.

Most Overrated

3. Eddy Pineiro

Nothing against Pineiro, but look at the numbers. How your team goes through what the Bears went through with kickers and then annoints a kicker their guy after he makes 11 straight and only one is beyond 36 yards—with none longer than 46—is beyond me. Chicago fans and media wanting the madness to end have all jumped on board. Uh, I hate to be the one pointing out the emperor is wearing no clothes, but with that record? OK, it was 11 straight, sure. However, all but one of those was from a distance even Cody Parkey could have made, or at least hit the upright. Taken into account, to decry Pineiro's streak as an underachievement is probably not quite like saying the emperor is wearing no clothes—it's more like saying the emperor is wearing only his boxer shorts.  

2. Leonard Floyd

You can't help but be overrated when only the coach, linebackers coach, defensive coordinator and general manager sing your praises, and everyone else in the country is wondering why it is that when Khalil Mack is being triple-teamed the other outside pass rusher isn't getting to the quarterback. Floyd is doing so much else for the defense besides getting sacks, his supporters claim. With three sacks on the year and one sack over the final 16 weeks, Floyd better be doing something else for the defense or someone should either organize a search party or notify next of kin.

1. Adam Shaheen

"Shaheen is talented," GM Ryan Pace insisted after the season ended. "I think what's hurt his development, especially being (from a) small school, is the time he missed (injured). When he's played, we've liked what we have seen. He just hasn't put it out there long enough."

If one person is saying Shaheen is talented with 26 catches in three years, then he really is the most overrated player on the team.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

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