8 takeaways from the Bears’ initial 53-man roster

·5 min read

The Chicago Bears made 27 cuts to finalize their initial 53-man roster on Tuesday, which included plenty of surprises.

There was plenty to digest from this first 53-man roster, including how things break down by position, some impending movement along the roster and some surprise bubble players who made the cut.

Keep in mind, this initial 53-man roster is subject to change as waiver wire claims are made on Wednesday and other players are moved around.

Here’s what we learned from the Bears’ initial 53-man roster:

Ryan Poles overhauled the roster

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

When looking at this initial Bears roster, there are a number of new faces that might take some getting used to — and that could change even more in the coming days. General manager Ryan Poles made good on his promise to rebuild the roster his way, and it’s already shown in the matter of one offseason. There are only 22 players left from the previous regime, according to Aaron Leming, which equates to an overall turnover rate of 59% on this current roster. Some of the notable names from the Ryan Pace era still on the roster: quarterback Justin Fields, linebacker Roquan Smith, receiver Darnell Mooney, running back David Montgomery, tight end Cole Kmet, cornerback Jaylon Johnson and defensive end Robert Quinn.

Tajae Sharpe, Dante Pettis made the cut at receiver

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There wasn’t a lot of surprise with the first five roster spots at wide receiver with Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, Velus Jones Jr., Equanimeous St. Brown and N’Keal Harry. Chicago elected to carry seven receivers on their initial 53-man roster, including roster bubble players Tajae Sharpe and Dante Pettis. Sharpe and Pettis both got the seal of approval from quarterback Justin Fields, so it’s not a surprise that they both made the cut. Well, at least the initial cut.

All active rookie draft members made the initial cut

AP Photo/Caean Couto

Every active member of the Bears’ rookie draft class made the initial 53-man roster cut. The only exception is offensive lineman Doug Kramer, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending injury. That means cornerback Kyler Gordon, safety Jaquan Brisker, receiver Velus Jones Jr., offensive linemen Braxton Jones, Zachary Thomas and Ja’Tyre Carter, running back Trestan Ebner, defensive end Dominique Robinson, safety Elijah Hicks and punter Trenton Gill all made the initial roster. Chicago also has three undrafted rookies (linebacker Jack Sanborn, fullback Jake Tonges and cornerback Jaylon Jones) on the initial roster. Not too bad for Poles’ first NFL draft.

Tavon Young placed on IR

AP Photo/Terrance Williams

The Bears kept six cornerbacks on their initial roster, but Tavon Young wasn’t among them. Young, who’s been sidelined by injury for a good portion of the summer, was placed on injured reserve. That means Young will have to miss at least the first four games of the 2022 regular season, making him eligible to return in Week 5 against the Vikings. Young gives Chicago stability at the nickel cornerback position, where we’ll likely see rookie Kyler Gordon get plenty of reps to start the year.

N'Keal Harry will soon join him

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We’ve known for awhile that wide receiver N’Keal Harry would be sidelined following ankle surgery back on Aug. 11. The recovery period was expected to be around eight weeks, which works out perfectly for Chicago. The expectation is Harry will be placed on injured reserve, where he’ll be eligible to return after missing the required four games. Like Young, he can return as early as Week 5 against Minnesota. Harry’s recovery period has him ready to return in early October, which coincides with that Vikings game.

The Bears kept 2 tight ends on the roster

AP Photo/David Dermer

The Bears only kept two tight ends on the roster in Cole Kmet and Ryan Griffin after waiving James O’Shaughnessy with a non-football illness designation. Technically, they do have another tight end on the roster in undrafted rookie Jake Tonges, who is listed on the roster as the team’s backup fullback behind Khari Blasingame. Perhaps that’s an indication Chicago could turn to the waiver wire to add at tight end (more on that later).

Special teams contributors made the initial cut

AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

When teams are looking to fill those final roster spots, it usually comes down to special teams contributions. So it’s not a huge surprise to see that a number of roster bubble players who made the cut have carved out a role on special teams. That includes veteran linebackers Matt Adams and Joe Thomas, as well as seventh-round rookie safety Elijah Hicks, undrafted rookies linebacker Jack Sanborn, tight end Jakes Tonges and cornerback Jaylon Jones and linebacker Caleb Johnson.

There are changes coming to this initial roster

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It’s important to note that this initial 53-man roster will likely undergo some changes over the next day. There are a number of players who were waived on Tuesday that could interest the Bears. With Chicago sitting seventh in waiver order, there’s a good chance they can land some talented players at positions of need. When looking at the Bears’ current roster, it certainly looks like they could target several positions: wide receiver, offensive line, tight end and defensive tackle.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire