Chicago Bears 2013 Breakout Candidate: Corey Wootton
December 20, 2010 was the day a little-known Chicago Bears’ defensive end would splash onto the scene in dramatic fashion. Of course, that was the day when Corey Wootton ended the legendary Brett Favre’s career. It happened in the second quarter of a Bears-Minnesota Vikings game when Wootton viciously sacked Favre into the frozen tundra. Favre sustained a concussion, the Bears went on to win 40-14, and the game proved to be Favre’s last game ever. Since then, Wootton has been slowly progressing for the Bears and 2013 could be his coming out party.
Last season, Wootton appeared in all 16 games for the Bears and had 20 tackles and an impressive seven sacks. With the Bears choosing not to re-sign defensive end Israel Idonije, the 26-year-old defensive end will finally get his chance to start, and with more playing could absolutely be a breakout star. With the Bears wanting to get younger on defense, Wootton might be their most valuable player since he is only 26. Furthermore, he is entering his fourth season with the Bears so he is somewhat seasoned.
This season will be the most important season of Wootton’s career as he is entering the last year of his rookie contract. Wootton will be playing for a bigger contract while also proving that he can be a force as a starter on the Bears’ defensive line. At 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, Wootton has the perfect frame for defensive end and has the explosiveness to get to the quarterback and make the sack. Do not be surprised if Wootton goes for 10+ sacks in 2013, as he should turn in the best numbers of his career next season.
If Wootton can prove himself next season, he definitely could be the face of the Bears defense for years to come. He might not reach Brian Urlacher status but he could be very good for the Bears for a very long time. Wootton has come a long way since that fateful sack and now he is on a mission to be remembered for more than the guy who ended Favre’s career.