Bears 2021 training camp: 5 under-the-radar players to watch on offense

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The Chicago Bears kick off training camp in less than three weeks, where there will be plenty of players fighting for a roster spot and looking to contribute in 2021.

There are the big names fans will be watching — including rookie quarterback Justin Fields, receiver Allen Robinson and running back David Montgomery. As well as some new players who have already made their presence known during the offseason program, including receivers Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd.

But there are a handful of players who also bear watching when Chicago kicks off camp.

Here’s a look at five under-the-radar players to watch on offense ahead of training camp.

RB Khalil Herbert

AP Photo/David Banks, Pool

Running back Khalil Herbert could very well become one of Ryan Pace's late-round success stories when all is said and done. While Herbert won't be competing for a starting job this season, he's competing for a valuable depth role behind David Montgomery. Herbert is one of Chicago's rookies who has a good chance to make an impact in his first season. Only that's more likely to come on special teams, as the Bears are in need of a kick returner following Cordarrelle Patterson's departure in free agency. Last season at Virginia Tech, Herbert returned 16 kicks for 430 yards, an average of 26.9 yards per return. That versatility -- filling a need on special teams -- gives Herbert a good chance to nab one of those final running back roster spots.

WR Dazz Newsome

AP Photo/David Banks, Pool

Like Herbert, Dazz Newsome has the potential to one of Pace's late-round gems several years down the line. While Dyami Brown got a lot of attention, it was Newsome who Pace said kept showing up while watching North Carolina film. Newsome has a knack for making plays, and he's not too shabby in the speed department, as he's among the top 10 fastest Bears on the roster. Newsome will have to battle the likes of Javon Wims and Riley Ridley for a valuable roster spot. And, also like Herbert, Newsome could benefit from serving as a key special teams contributor. Newsome suffered a broken collarbone during OTAs, which required surgery. The expectation is that Newsome should return in time for the start of training camp, where he's one of Chicago's more intriguing rookies.

OL Larry Borom

AP Photo/David Banks, Pool

While left tackle Teven Jenkins has been the talk of Chicago's rookie offensive linemen, fifth-round tackle Larry Borom is also an intriguing prospect to watch as the Bears kick off training camp. Especially given that he's a Day 3 pick who has a chance to start on Day 1. Following the release of Bobby Massie this offseason, Borom will compete with veteran Germain Ifedi for the starting right tackle job. But it certainly won't be easy, as it's believed it's Ifedi's job to lose. But that doesn't mean a strong performance from Borom won't challenge Ifedi or possibly put himself in a strong position to start at right tackle in 2022.

TE Jake Butt

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

While Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham are locks for the roster at tight end, one of the more intriguing names just so happens to be relatively new to the roster. Former Michigan tight end Jake Butt participated in mandatory minicamp, where he earned himself a one-year deal with the Bears. Unfortunately for him, he’s struggled with injuries dating back to college, and injuries have limited him to just eight games in four seasons with the Broncos. Assuming Butt can stay healthy, he has a good chance of locking down a roster spot with Chicago as a blocking tight end. Butt thrived as an in-line tight end at Michigan, and he could serve as valuable depth behind Kmet. But it depends on how many tight ends the Bears plan to carry on the roster, where J.P. Holtz is a favorite to be the third tight end behind Kmet and Graham.

RB Ryan Nall

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

One of the biggest overhauls this offseason on offense comes at the running backs room, where they've added more depth. While David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen remain in place, the Bears signed veteran Damien Williams and drafted rookie Khalil Herbert to add to the mix this season. Nall's contributions on special teams make him a valuable asset to this team, and one of the reasons why he could lock down a fifth running back roster spot. But if Chicago only carries four running backs, Nall could find himself the odd man out.

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