COMMENTARY | NFL players can have differing opinions on the preseason, depending on who you ask.
Some veterans who have been around for 10 years and have long-term, guaranteed contracts probably can't wait to get to the regular season when the games actually count. But, for many players, this is their moment to make a name for themselves and hopefully crack the final 53-man roster for an NFL team. With 90 players on a training camp roster, nearly half will either be out of a job or placed on injured reserve when Week 1 rolls around in the NFL.
The Chicago Bears are no different in this regard, and they have many players who fit both of these billings. But while everyone knows all about Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Julius Peppers, one of the more exciting things about the preseason in the NFL is seeing the young, unproven players make the most of their opportunities.
For these five players, they're hoping that the opportunity the Bears have given them will translate into a prominent role this season. Take a look at five guys every Bears fan should be looking for tomorrow in Carolina (listed alphabetically):
Joe Anderson, WR: Anderson is a 6-foot-1-inch receiver who is spending his second training camp with Chicago after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech last offseason. After appearing in three games last season with the Bears, mostly serving on special teams, Anderson has drawn high praises out of Bears camp from new head coach Marc Trestman and quarterback Jay Cutler.
Anderson appears to be the frontrunner in the competition for one of the final receiver spots, one which includes Eric Weems, Marquess Wilson, and Devin Aromashadou. Anderson may end up playing solely on special teams this season, but he has proved early in camp that he has soft hands and is an adept route runner.
Eben Britton, OT: Many may remember Britton as the former second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009 after a standout career in college at Arizona. Britton struggled to stay on the field during his career in Jacksonville, starting less than half of the games in his four seasons there. Britton signed with Chicago on April 16 this offseason to compete with Jonathan Scott for the third OT position, backing up both Jermon Bushrod at LT and J'Marcus Webb at RT.
But Scott has been inconsistent in camp, paving the way for Britton to get many of the left over first-team reps. With Bushrod recovering from a calf injury and questionable for the preseason opener, Britton has a chance to prove his worth for a Bears offense that badly needs to improve its offensive line this season.
Isaiah Frey, CB: Frey was taken in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL draft by Chicago and served on the practice squad for much of last season. While he was purely a developmental project last season, Frey has turned some heads this offseason and training camp with his improved coverage and ball skills. He has consistently made plays against the first-team offense in camp, and with news this week of nickleback Kelvin Hayden's torn hamstring injury that will cost him the season, the Bears are looking for someone to take his place alongside CBs Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman. Despite his inexperience, Frey could be that guy given his strong camp performance. A strong showing in the preseason will help him solidify that position.
Brandon Hardin, SS: Hardin was a third-round pick in 2012 out of Oregon State who spent all of last season on injured reserve due to a neck injury suffered in the preseason. He was brought in to compete for the starting strong safety spot, now held by Major Wright. Currently listed at third on the depth chart behind Wright and Anthony Walters, Hardin could look to elevate himself above Walters with solid special teams play.
With the Bears looking for more out of the safety position, especially with a new MLB replacing the retired Brian Urlacher, Hardin could use his size (listed at 6-3, 217) and ability to play in the box to his advantage. He's turned some heads so far in camp doing just that, and could turn even more in his first game action in over a year.
Fenbi Onobun, TE: Onobun, listed at 6-5.5 and 252 pounds, has always been labeled as a high-level athlete since he was taken in the sixth round of the 2010 draft by the St. Louis Rams. After spending much of his first three seasons on practice squads, Onobun is hoping to finally stick around and prove he's more.
The Bears mark the sixth stop for the former University of Arizona basketball player who ran a 4.48 40 and posted a 37 1/2-inch vertical. Onobun possesses rare athleticism at the position, but he is probably the biggest longshot to make the Bears roster of the guys on this list due to the other guys at his position. (Currently, he's listed fourth on the TE depth chart, with the newly signed Leonard Pope listed after him.) Nonetheless, Onobun should be a fun guy to watch when he's in the game if given the opportunity to catch some passes.
Billy Grayson is a Yahoo! Sports contributing writer from Chicago and die hard Chicago sports follower. He is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
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