The regular season is just days away for the Chicago Bears now that both training camp and the preseason have concluded. But before they take the field against the San Francisco 49ers in week one, general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus must trim the roster down from 80 players to 53. This means plenty of tough decisions will be made regarding bubble players who have given everything they have since training camp began in late July.
Cutting 27 players isn’t easy for an NFL general manager and while some are easy to spot, it also becomes clear as to who has earned a place on the team. Here are eight players we believe have made a great case to stick on the Bears final roster.
1. RB Darrynton Evans
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – AUGUST 18: Mike Jackson #30 of the Seattle Seahawks dives to make the tackle on Darrynton Evans #21 of the Chicago Bears in the second quarter at Lumen Field on August 18, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
The bad news for running back Darrynton Evans? It seems as if rookie Trestan Ebner easily overtook him as the team’s RB3 during training camp. The good news is he still played very well in the preseason and made the most of nearly every carry he had. Evans finished the preseason with 77 rushing yards and one touchdown with 4.1 yards per carry. The Bears could choose to only roster three running backs and one fullback, but Evans looks legit and deserves a spot.
2. WR Isaiah Coulter
Aug 27, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Isaiah Coulter (82) catches the ball while sitting on the ground against Cleveland Browns cornerback Herb Miller (29) during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
It might be hard to believe, but the most consistent wide receiver during the preseason for the Bears has been Isaiah Coulter. The veteran led the team during the three-game stretch with 112 receiving yards, making plays with every quarterback on the roster. He finds his way to the football on offense, but is also a capable special teamer as well.
Injuries will make the Bears receiving corps very interesting to finalize, but Coulter deserves to stick with them when the dust settles.
3. OL Dieter Eislen
Jun 8, 2022; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears offensive line Dieter Eiselen (60) warms up during organized team activities at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Maybe put an asterisk on this one since I don’t believe Dieter Eislen will be on the roster for long, but if we’re talking about versatile reserve interior linemen who have jumped off the screen more than once, he’s the guy who stands out. Eislen should see time on the team for at least week one while Lucas Patrick heals up his injured thumb. He can play both guard and center and has stood out with the reserves, particularly against the Seattle Seahawks in the preseason.
Perhaps it’s short lived, but Eislen did enough for at least a brief stint on the roster.
4. DE Sam Kamara
Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Kamara runs on the field during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Eberflus loves players with high motors and we’ve seen that from defensive end Sam Kamara this preseason. The second-year pass rusher has blown by tackles to create havoc in the backfield more than a couple of times. He totaled six tackles and two sacks this preseason, with a few quarterback pressures as well.
Kamara can still improve when it comes to bringing the quarterback down, but he deserves a spot over a highly-paid veteran like Mario Edwards Jr. and he might just get it.
5. DT Trevon Coley
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith, center, is pressured by Chicago Bears defensive tackle Trevon Coley during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Take what we just wrote for Kamara and put it in big bold letters for defensive tackle Trevon Coley. Signed midway through training camp, Coley has been a force on the defensive line. He’s totaled five tackles, three for a loss, three sacks, and six quarterback hits. Even for a 3 technique defensive tackle, that’s impressive.
Coley could be in line to backup Justin Jones but he’s been one of the stars of the preseason and should have a home in Chicago.
6. LB Jack Sanborn
Chicago Bears linebacker Jack Sanborn during during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
The secret is out on undrafted linebacker Jack Sanborn. Though he’s come back down to earth slightly after his notable debut against the Kansas City Chiefs, he’s been climbing the depth chart and continues to play smart and savvy football. Team coaches have praised his work ethic and it would be a shock to learn he’s not in their plans this year.
Sanborn appears to be the embodiment of the type of player Eberflus wants on his team and he’s earned not only a roster spot, but meaningful snaps as well.
7. CB Davontae Harris
Chicago Bears cornerback Davontae Harris (16) defends against Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Chris Lammons (29) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Like Coley, defensive back Davontae Harris entered Bears camp in August but has made a strong first impression. He recorded 12 tackles this preseason, including six in Saturday’s finale alone. Harris showed his versatility as he was all over the field and made a much stronger case to make the roster than someone like Lamar Jackson. Harris has also been stout on special teams, furthering his case make the final 53.
Cornerback could be in flux as multiple players are dealing with injuries. Regardless, Harris has earned a shot and brings years of experience to a young secondary.
8. S Elijah Hicks
Chicago Bears safety Elijah Hicks (37) tackles Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
I can’t help but love the way safety Elijah Hicks plays football. He’s instinctive, fast, and flies to the football. Hicks hasn’t necessarily stood out on defense, but his play on special teams is what has counted in his bid to make the team. The seventh-round pick out of Cal finished the preseason with 11 total tackles and while he still has a ways to go in his development, he has the potential to become a solid NFL player.