Chicago Bears: Complete 53-Man Roster Predictions

7 of 12

Aug 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins (96) reacts to making a tackle during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line (7): Jarvis Jenkins, Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton, Eddie Goldman, Terry Williams, Cornelius Washington and Brandon Dunn

As we move to the defensive side of the ball, it is important to remember that the Bears are transitioning to a 3-4 defense this season. There are some odd fits for the defense on the roster, but Fangio and his staff are going to do the best that they can to put the players in a position to succeed.

Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (90) against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. The Lions defeated the Bears 20-14. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

It is important to note that defensive lineman Jay Ratliff will miss the first three games of the season for his suspension. Ratliff will not count against the Bears’ 53-man roster, but once Week 4 comes, one of these guys are likely to be cut to make room for Ratliff. He is primarily thought-of as a nose tackle in this defense, but Ratliff has shown the ability to play the five-technique defensive end as well.

Jenkins, Ferguson and Sutton are likely to be the major contributors at the five-technique with Ratliff out. Jenkins is the veteran with a lot of 3-4 experience, so I expect him to start at one defensive end slot. Ferguson and Sutton will battle to start at the other, with Ferguson probably having the early edge. He has always been the more exciting prospect, but Sutton has really turned it on in the preseason. Both players are prime breakout candidates.

Rookie Eddie Goldman will likely start at nose tackle with Ratliff out, and he has a chance to lock down that position for many years right away. Undrafted rookie Terry Williams will be Goldman’s immediate back-up, and he has shown plenty of promise as a big run stuffer in the preseason. When Ratliff returns, Williams may seem like the obvious candidate to be cut, so his performance early on will be important.

Washington and Dunn will bring depth to both positions, primarily at defensive end. Washington is an extremely athletic player who flashes some nice upside. He will continue to be a major special teams contributor this season if nothing else. Dunn is not too exciting of a player, but he looks solid and brings some nice depth.

Next: Inside Linebackers