Bears final 53-man roster projection includes surprise receiver

·4 min read

Schrock's 53-man roster projection ahead of Bears' final cuts originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bears' preseason slate ended Saturday with a 21-20 win over the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Quarterback Justin Fields was sharp, the offensive line acquitted itself well after the first drive, and roster bubble guys like Jack Sanborn and Dante Pettis emptied the tank in a final effort to make the 53-man.

The Bears must cut their roster down on Tuesday and will have several difficult decisions.

Here's our 53-man roster projection ahead of cut-down day, which was a more difficult exercise than I anticipated.

Quarterback

Making the cut (2): Justin Fields, Trevor Siemian

Fields shined in the preseason finale, showing why his skill and Getsy's system can be a perfect marriage. Siemian is a competent veteran who can spot start in case of an injury.

Running back

Making the cut (5): David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert, Trestan Ebner, FB Khari Blasingame, Darrynton Evans

Evans entered the preseason finale on the bubble, but I think his versatility and special teams capabilities are reason enough for him to stick around. Ebner has been out since suffering an injury in the second preseason game, but his pass-catching ability and return acumen put him on the roster.

Wide receiver

Making the cut (7): Darnell Mooney, Velus Jones Jr., Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle, N'Keal Harry, Dante Pettis, Tajae Sharpe

The Bears' receiving corps has been hit hard by injuries this offseason.

Pringle (quad), Harry (ankle), Sharpe (rib), Jones, and Pettis all have missed time at one point or another.

Following the first preseason game, I thought Sharpe was a lock to make the roster due to the quick chemistry he established with Fields. But he missed the final two preseason contests, and Pettis has seemingly jumped him on the depth chart. It won't be a surprise if Sharpe doesn't make it.

I will stick with the Bears keeping seven receivers on the initial 53-man, but they'll look at the waiver wire for additional help.

Tight end

Making the cut (4): Cole Kmet, Ryan Griffin, James O'Shaughnessy, Chase Allen

Kmet is potentially headed for a breakout season in Getsy's offense, while Griffin is a valuable run blocker.

Allen impressed late in camp, and his contributions on specials teams put him on the roster as the 53rd guy.

Offensive line

Making the cut (9): Braxton Jones, Cody Whitehair, Lucas Patrick, Sam Mustipher, Michael Schofield, Riley Reiff, Teven Jenkins, Larry Borom, Ja'Tyre Carter

This one is tough.

I think Schofield is firmly on the bubble after his lackluster performance in the preseason. However, Patrick's injury likely will force the Bears to keep an extra interior offensive lineman until the center officially returns.

Jenkins had another solid day at right guard during the preseason finale against the Browns, likely locking up a starting spot. Borom has fended off Riley Reiff for the starting right tackle job, but the Bears will keep the veteran as needed tackle depth.

Defensive line

Making the cut (8): Robert Quinn, Justin Jones, Trevis Gipson, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Mario Edwards Jr., Khyiris Tonga, Angelo Blackson, Dominique Robinson

Edwards and Blackson have battled injuries during camp, but they should make the cut as long as they are healthy by Week 1.

Trevon Coley and Micah Dew-Treadway gave it a good run, but they come up just short.

Linebacker

Making the cut (5): Roquan Smith, Nicholas Morrow, Matt Adams, Joe Thomas, Jack Sanborn

This group has been solidified for quite some time.

Sanborn, the undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin, had a tremendous preseason and showed he is a valuable special teams contributor. The Lake Zurich native will play for his hometown team.

Defensive back

Making the cut (10): Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker, Kindle Vildor, Lamar Jackson, Thomas Graham Jr., Elijah Hicks, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Duke Shelley
Johnson, Gordon, Jackson, Brisker, and Vildor are locks. Vildor likely will start at outside corner opposite Jackson while Gordon mans the nickel.

Houston-Carson filled in nicely in Brisker's absence. His ability to play safety and big nickel make him a valuable member of the secondary.

Jackson makes the roster as a depth piece at outside corner. Graham beats out Tavon Young for the backup nickel spot.

Both Graham and Young have missed most of camp with injuries. However, Graham's youth and Young's contract structure give the Oregon product the nod.

The final spot was a difficult one to pick. It came down to Davontae Harris, Duke Shelley, and Dane Cruikshank.

I went with Shelley because of the depth concerns at corner, but it won't surprise me if Harris or Cruikshank nab the final spot due to their special teams capabilities.

Specialists

Making the cut (3): Cairo Santos, Trenton Gill, Patrick Scales

Set in stone.

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