The Chicago Bears played their first preseason game of the 2012 season on Thursday night.
Well... some of the Bears did.
Jay Cutler didn't.
Matt Forte didn't.
Neither did Julius Peppers or Brian Urlacher.
So while the final score might not look great, remembering that the Bears four best players were watching all night is a pretty significant grain of salt to consider when looking at the box score.
But there were two players that exploded through the television screen to me.
First off, I absolutely loved the Bears taking Alshon Jeffery in the second round of this year's draft. He compares well to Plaxico Burress coming out of Michigan State, and was incredible value for the Bears in the middle of the second round.
Jeffery was targeted five times in the game and led all Bears players with four receptions and 35 yards. He ran good, clean routes, caught the ball with his hands and made plays in traffic. Listed at 6-3 and 216 pounds, he quickly gained the confidence of the quarterbacks and made plays whenever the ball came to him. With Brandon Marshall joining Devin Hester and Earl Bennett, Jeffery has a chance to be an impact receiver on what could be a dynamic Bears offense... when Cutler and Forte are on the field.
The other player that I was really impressed by was the Bears' first round pick, Shea McClellin.
McClellin showed off the motor that made him a first round pick, chasing down rushers and harassing quarterbacks all night. He was credited with three solo tackles, one sack and two quarterback hits in the game. If he can continue to put good pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season, teams won't be able to focus on Peppers as much. I was admittedly skeptical of the McClellin pick on draft day, but his performance on Thursday night opened my eyes.
It's impossible to take a first preseason game and project performances through a 16-game NFL season. But the skills displayed by the Bears' first two picks from this year's draft should give fans hope for a good season at Soldier Field.