We’re one day away from the Bears final cuts, which will bring their roster down to 53 players. You’ve seen the projections of who will stay, and who will go. Now let’s take that one step further and project where each of those guys will slot into the depth chart when the Bears start practicing for Week 1 and the San Francisco 49ers. Starters are bolded. Second-stringers follow, with third-stringers after that, etc.
Justin Fields, Trevor Siemian
No quarterback controversy in Chicago this year.
David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert, Trestan Ebner
The severity of Ebner’s injury might affect how this shakes out. Since he’s technically day-to-day, the Bears could roll with three halfbacks and two fullbacks, as listed here. If there’s a chance Ebner’s injury extends into the season, the Bears could opt to roster one fullback, and add Darrynton Evans here.
Khari Blasingame, Jake Tonges
Blasingame’s utilization in the offense shows how much Luke Getsy values the fullback position. For that reason, they keep two.
Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle, Velus Jones Jr., Dante Pettis, Tajae Sharpe
N’Keal Harry could start the year on Injured Reserve, opening up a spot for one more wideout to make the roster. It’s Sharpe that makes the most of it, after he showed a strong connection with Justin Fields. Pringle has missed a ton of time, so he’ll have to work back to regain his presumptive No. 2 role. Meanwhile, St. Brown has had one of the best trajectories this summer. It’s clear Fields trusts him to be in the right place at the right time, and he’s become a red zone threat too.
Cole Kmet, Ryan Griffin, James O’Shaughnessy
Besides Justin Fields, Cole Kmet may benefit the most from Luke Getsy’s scheme. Kmet has shown he’s a capable run blocker. Since defenders need to respect that, it opens up big gains for Kmet in the play-action game. Griffin and O’Shaughnessy will be contributors, too.
Braxton Jones, Riley Reiff
Jones could win the award for Biggest Training Camp Surprise. He’s not a finished product, but he’s steadily improved all summer. Reiff adds value as a backup swing tackle.
Cody Whitehair, Lachavious Simmons
Whitehair is the most consistent piece of the offensive line. Simmons keeps his job after a position switch this year. Zach Thomas doesn’t win a job out of camp, but sticks with the Bears on the practice squad.
Lucas Patrick, Sam Mustipher, Dieter Eiselen
If Patrick is ready to go Week 1, he’s the surefire starting center. But we haven’t heard an update on when he’ll return to the practice field so the Bears keep Eiselen to add depth behind Mustipher.
Teven Jenkins, Sam Mustipher, Ja’Tyre Carter
Jenkins is another lineman who saved his job after a position switch. If Patrick returns, Mustipher becomes the backup right guard. Otherwise seventh-round rookie Carter is next man up. Jenkins’ renaissance at the position, plus the positional versatility of Mustipher make free agent signing Michael Schofield expendable and the Bears move on without him.
Larry Borom, Riley Reiff
Borom has fended off Reiff in competition this summer, but the Bears will keep a close on this battle (and may even add some competition in the coming weeks). Again, Reiff brings value with his ability to backup both tackle positions.
Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Mario Edwards Jr., Dominique Robinson
The top end of the DE rotation may be fluid, as Muhammad has proven himself as a great run defender. Expect the team to work in Robinson when they can since he’s impressed as a young, toolsy pass rusher. Edwards Jr. sticks around for positional versatility, since he can play outside and inside.
Justin Jones, Angelo Blackson, Khyiris Tonga, Mario Edwards Jr., Trevon Coley
The back end of this position group is one of the hardest to project since Coley, Mike Pennel and Micah Dew-Treadway have all played well this summer. Coley is the one who has caused the most disruption in the backfield, and filled out his stat sheet, so he gets the nod. The Bears try to stash Dew-Treadway on the practice squad this year.
Nick Morrow, Jack Sanborn
Morrow has shown that if he can stay healthy he can be a foundational piece in the middle of the Bears defense moving forward. Sanborn has had one of the most impressive summers on the team to move from undrafted free agent to roster lock. Sanborn’s special teams prowess helps, as does his ability to play Mike and Sam.
Roqaun Smith, Joe Thomas
Smith will be right in the thick of things when Week 1 rolls around, and he’ll have a big opportunity to prove he can create takeaways in addition to being a tackling machine.
Matt Adams, Jack Sanborn
Adams won’t be on the field much as the Bears will likely use plenty of nickel packages, but when he is on the field he’ll be a reliable veteran.
Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, Kindle Vildor, Lamar Jackson, Davontae Harris
Three guys are bolded, mainly because of Kyler Gordon’s positional versatility. When the Bears are in base defense, it will be Johnson and Gordon on the outside. When they go to nickel packages, Gordon will move to the slot and Vildor will go outside. Harris and Jackson win jobs for their special teams work.
Kyler Gordon, Thomas Graham, DeAndre Houston-Carson
This could be a position the Bears try to bolster as teams around the league make cuts. Graham hasn’t been healthy in awhile, so it’s hard for coaches to fully evaluate him. Houston-Carson usually plays safety, but has been used as a “big nickel” at times. Duke Shelley hasn’t done enough this summer to win a job out of camp.
Eddie Jackson, Elijah Hicks
The Bears hope Jackson can become a takeaway machine again, now that they’re simply asking him to range the backfield. Hicks has held his own in the preseason as the last line of defense, and scored a touchdown on special teams.
Jaquan Brisker, DeAndre Houston-Carson
Brisker’s impressive summer and DHC’s reliability make this a strong unit. If Brisker’s injury extends into the regular season, however, the Bears could keep Dane Cruikshank around to buoy the group until Brisker returns.
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