Chicago Bears: Five Things to Watch in Preseason Opener

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May 8, 2015; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears center Hroniss Grasu (55) during Chicago Bears rookie minicamp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

How will the rookies play?

A new era adds a little extra spice to the play of the draft picks, as it marks the first chance to review the drafting capabilities of Ryan Pace and John Fox.

Unfortunately, a shin injury seems likely to keep first round wide receiver Kevin White on the sideline, possibly into the regular season.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of other rookies to keep an eye on.

Nov 15, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions safety Adrian Amos (4) runs with the ball after an interception during the third quarter against the Temple Owls at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Temple 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

On defense, there are a pair of rookies to watch. Adrian Amos, the fifth-round selection out of Penn State, hasn’t been mentioned as a possible starter so far this season. While he isn’t going to beat out Rolle, I thought he could compete against Vereen – they have similar coverage skills but Amos is bigger and better in run support – and Mundy.

That possibility hasn’t yet materialized, but I’m looking forward to seeing if he can push his name into the starting race. Barring injuries, Amos may not make much of an impact on the Bears defense this year, but could be a building block for future years, as Rolle is already 32 years old.

Jan 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Jeremy Langford (33) runs the ball against the Baylor Bears in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

While Amos projects more as a backup, second round nose tackle Eddie Goldman could start and be the key for the Bears defense line. If Goldman plays well in the preseason, he could start at nose tackle and kick Ratliff outside to defensive end, giving the Bears two good players on the defensive line and easing some of the concerns about the lack of quality players at defensive end. Hopefully, Goldman takes the first step in proving that ability tonight.

On offense, Jeremy Langford is in the race to be the primary backup to Matt Forte, while Hroniss Grasu is seeking to unseat Will Montgomery as the starting center.

If Grasu can prove he’s capable of starting and leading on the line as a rookie, that opens options for the Bears to kick the veteran Montgomery to guard and move Pro Bowler Kyle Long to the vulnerable right tackle position, where his athleticism should be a plus in pass protection. Grasu’s emergence could push the Bears offensive line back to the 2013 level, where they were the best offensive line quarterback Jay Cutler has had in his Bears tenure.

Next: The race to be second ...