The Bears filled their 10-man practice squad yesterday as expected. There were a few surprises which I’ll get to below and a few new players brought in from outside the organization. I’ll break down the players that were kept, give a brief scouting report on the new faces, and discuss the future of a few players who weren’t kept.
The Bears also made an actual roster move today, waiving LS Brandon Hartson and signing LS Jeremy Cain who has been with the Bears for brief stints on three other occasions over the last few years. Ultimately I just don’t think they were comfortable with the untested Hartson as the long-snapper. Patrick Mannelly we miss you already!
Bears 10-Man Practice Squad:
CB Isaiah Frey – Was released a week ago and apparently no other teams were interested. Frey started in the slot for the Bears last year and wasn’t great (0 turnovers) but wasn’t terrible either (-4.9 grade). I’m surprised no one grabbed him, but now the Bears have an experienced slot corner on their practice squad should a few injuries occur.
WR Josh Bellamy – Of all the players on the practice squad, Bellamy is the one I thought some other team would take. The Browns in particular who just got lit up by Bellamy for 4 catches and 78 yards during the last preseason game. The Browns have the worst WR group in the league and I don’t know why they wouldn’t want Bellamy after he dominated their 2nd string CBs. I’m glad they didn’t because now the Bears have a solid WR prospect with size, speed, and the ability to adjust to the ball. Bellamy has a future in this league and I think he will get snaps with the Bears offense this season.
CB Al Louis-Jean – He is 20 years old and only played 9 games in college due to some issues with the BC coaching staff after the coach that recruited him left BC. Louis-Jean has ideal size (6’1, 187), was a 5-star recruit coming out of college, and played really well this preseason with 1 INT and almost 2 more. ALJ also was strong in run support and with a little technique work could be a rotation corner as soon as next season.
G Ryan Groy - Showed some potential to be a mauling run-blocker, but also struggled in pass protection. If Groy can improve his pass pro to the point where he is league average, he has starter potential due to his dominant run blocking ability. A year on the practice squad improving his technique and will give Groy a good shot to make the roster in 2015.
MLB DeDe Lattimore – A dominant run-suffer in college who showed signs of being competent at the NFL level. He struggled in coverage in his last two preseason outings, but is a sideline to sideline run stopper and showed great blitz instincts. Lattimore has the potential to become a solid two-down MLB, similar to the role D.J. Williams plays for the Bears now.
C Taylor Boggs – I’m not sure why the Bears keep this guy around. He got dominated last preseason and then got dominated again this preseason. Boggs got pushed around when trying to run block and then was too slow to handle inside speed rushes. To top it off, Boggs had two bad shotgun snaps in two games. Boggs has been with the team for a year and a half now and hasn’t shown any improvement.
DT Brandon Dunn – A project for the Bears new D-line coach Clint Hurtt who coached Dunn at Louisville. Dunn showed flashes as a potential run-stuffer inside. He looked slow to me in the preseason but he did a good job holding the point of attack at the line of scrimmage and could be a potential run stopper if Ego Ferguson doesn’t pan out.
KR Rashad Ross - Speedster (4.37) who went undrafted in 2013 but ended up on the Titans practice squad last season. Ross is a better receiver than he’s given credit for, but one thing he can do is return kicks. I saw him return one in person at ASU two seasons ago, Ross can fly. He’s tougher than expected for his size (6’0, 168) and has real potential as a kick returner.
CB Terrance Mitchell – The Cowboys cut Mitchell for some reason, despite the fact that they no depth at corner. Here is my pre-draft scouting report on Mitchell:
Terrance Mitchell Oregon (5’11, 192) – Play-maker for the Ducks, but was inconsistent in coverage, dropped quite a few INTs, and doesn’t have elite speed (4.6). What Mitchell does have is great instincts and with a little improvement of his technique Mitchell could be a solid 3rd or 4th corner in the NFL. 4th round grade.
DT Roy Philon – Another Louisville DT that the Bears new D-line couch is familiar with since he coached him last year. Neither Philon nor Dunn did anything for me on tape, but coach Hurtt knows them better than I do. Let’s just say my hopes aren’t sky-high on either DT prospect.
RB Jordan Lynch – This one hurts, I was rooting for Lynch to make the practice squad but the reality is that Bears coaches don’t see him as an NFL running back. Hopefully Lynch can catch on somewhere as a special teams guy, but as of today no team has signed him.
S Marcus Trice – This was a surprise to me as Trice played well in limited preseason action and the Bears need depth at the safety position.
WR Chris Williams – It is my understanding that players have two years of practice squad eligibility, so I’m not sure why the Bears wouldn’t have added Williams. They still could today if they open up a roster spot by putting Marquess Wilson on the IR / Return list. As of now, no team has picked him up but I would be surprised if he is not on at least a practice squad by week 2. Players with 4.3 speed are pretty rare.
DT Tracy Robertson - Spent last year on the Bears practice squad, but had made some comments about not wanting to go back. He may have refused the Bears practice squad offer to try to catch on with another team. Or maybe the Bears just like Dunn and Philon more.
CB C.J. Wilson – Was on the Bears practice squad last year and has played really well when given a chance the last two preseasons. I thought he at least deserved another shot.
WR Dale Moss – Former basketball player who has only played football for a few years, but showed flashes of talent.