"Fun to watch," Tory Taylor turning heads in Chicago

The best punter in the 2024 NFL Draft is living up to the hype so far.
Chicago Bears Rookie Minicamp
Chicago Bears Rookie Minicamp / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

It always seems like a gamble whenever an NFL front office uses draft capital on a special teams player. When it comes to those early picks in the fourth round and earlier, it seems unless the pick is made by the Raiders, they don't pan out.

But no one should be surprised that Tory Taylor is as advertised on the practice field for the Chicago Bears. The 122nd pick in the 2024 NFL Draft is meeting expectations ahead of his rookie season, grabbing the attention of his head coach.

"It's like, wow, the spin he could put on it," Eberflus said. "The one he almost had, he had a couple on the 1(-yard line) of course. But the spin he could put on it... really amazing. So it's fun to watch."

Eberflus gushed about Taylor's abilities, adding that, "He's like a trick-shot guy."

Ask any college football fan and there is little doubt among the masses that Iowa would be a 10-win team in 2023 without Taylor's record-shattering abilities.

Now, the Bears are certainly in a better position offensively than the Hawkeyes were. Their top two picks in this year's draft, quarterback Caleb Williams at first-overall and Rome Odunze at No. 9, are expected to come in and take the offense to heights previously unseen in Chicago.

But even with an influx of talent, the Bears are relying heavily on young players, so the insurance general manager Ryan Poles purchased with his fourth-round pick is notable. Poles told The Pat McAfee Show after the draft that picking Taylor was intentional as he wanted the former Hawkeye to make opposing teams uncomfortable.

"I didn't play much in the NFL, but I know running onto the field and having the ball spotted inside the 10-yard line is a very uncomfortable feeling," Poles said. "It's disheartening at times. And I love taking advantage of field position. And, really, that should help us with points, as well."

The Bears have a lot of pieces offensively and defensively to turn their fortunes around. However, having a weaponized punter is often a luxury in the NFL, one usually granted to poorly run franchises in an ironic fashion.

Naturally, the Bears want to use Taylor sparingly. The less he's used the better; it means their offensive investments are paying off and the franchise is headed in the right direction. But for the team to know this early on that they can rely on Taylor to get them out of a bind and make things difficult for their opponents is as high a praise a rookie punter, regardless of when he was drafted, could ever hope to receive.

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