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Chicago Bears 5 Most Surprising Offensive Players From 2015 NFL Season to Build Around

By Brian Neal b.neal@classicalite.com on Jan 25, 2016 07:30 PM EST

The Chicago Bears may have finished the 2015 NFL season just 6-10, but they exceeding the painfully low expectations placed on them heading into the year. After a pitiful 5-11 campaign in 2014, nobody figured there was much hope. However, this team was resilient and extremely competitive in almost every game, and was only a handful of possessions away from being a playoff contender -- oddly enough. With that, there are positives to take away. Here are their five most surprising offensive players who should be kept to build around.

5. RT Kyle Long

Long was a mainstay at right guard up to this point -- a Pro Bowler even. The reason he makes the list of surprising offensive players from 2015 is because of the position change. Yes, he didn't perform flawlessly out at tackle all year, but his transition was a major reason why the offense was more solid this year than in 2014.

Make no mistake, the difference between guard and tackle is vast. The techniques and responsibilities are different, and especially in pass protection, you're on an island out there at times. Long had an excellent season from that spot, and will only get better with more experience.

4. WR Marquess Wilson

Although on the roster for the past couple of seasons, Wilson was mostly an unknown. He hardly any playing time in his rookie year, and then had the collar bone injury that kept him out of a once-promising sophomore campaign. Finally able to get in some work this past year, Wilson proved that he can be a viable backup wideout.

He's not talented enough to be a No. 1 or 2, but we saw that when Alshon Jeffery was out, he was able to step up in multiple games as the top target. Out of six starts on the year, Wilson had two six-catch games and two four-catch games. He finished the season with 28 grabs, 464 yards and one TD. He'll be someone to keep in the rotation as a solid No. 3 or 4.

3. RB Jeremy Langford

Langford wasn't expected to do all that much this season. Matt Forte was the clear-cut No. 1, and Jacquizz Rodgers started the year as the No. 2 before getting hurt. But once he did, Langford started to receive more time, and then Forte got hurt for a couple of games.

The rookie's first start was against a potent St. Louis Rams defense, and he had a career day, racking up 182 total yards and two total touchdowns. From there, he was an integral part of the offense and played well when given the opportunities. He's a hard runner, and if Forte isn't back next year, fans should be confident in Langford's ability to hold down the fort as the starter.

2. TE Zach Miller

Talk about a comeback story. Miller has been hurt for the majority of his career, ending up on IR every season since 2011 because of one injury or another. But in 2015, he stayed healthy, and Bears fans saw the potential that he showed in the preseason a couple of years ago.

When starter Martellus Bennett was struggling and then got hurt, it was Miller who stepped up as an important target. About halfway through the season, Miller broke through with a huge touchdown against the San Diego Chargers, and then caught fire from there.

He finished the season with a career highs in receptions (34), yards (439) and touchdowns (5). Miller will be a free agent this offseason, and the Bears would be wise to re-sign him.

1. QB Jay Cutler

Finally, the man who many had lost faith in. Cutler came into this season heavily scrutinized for the amount of turnovers a year ago where he led the league in that category. He came in with something to prove to a new coaching staff and front office, and did just that.

He finished the season with a career-low interception rate, and kept the Bears in nearly every game this season. Without him, it's arguable that they wouldn't have won any games at all. Cutler became the Bears most important player in 2015, and Ryan Pace has said that the team will continue to build around him moving forward.

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TagsChicago Bears, 2015 NFL Season

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