DE Bruce Gaston, Purdue (6’2 | 308 |4.98) – This one hurts me a little, since Gaston and I played in the same conference in high school (Chicago Catholic League) and I also thought that Gaston played really well in his first season with the Bears. He was signed off the street mid last season and was one of the Bears better d-linemen during the second half of the year. He had only had one sack but generated consistent interior pressure.
Personally I thought Gaston played better than Will Sutton and am surprised he was let go before given a chance to compete with Sutton, Ferguson, and the rookies the Bears brought in this off-season. Gaston is undersized, but has a good burst off the ball and plays with a relentless work ethic that I thought would have earned him a job as a rotational defensive linemen in 2016.
WR Nathan Palmer, Northern Illinois (5’11, 198, 4.39) – The Bears signed Palmer off the Broncos practice squad back in October of last season and then re-signed him to a futures contract in January, giving the impression that the Bears thought highly of Palmer.
Apparently that wasn’t the case as they released him after last weekend’s rookie mini-camp. Palmer has bounced around since starring at NIU (17 touchdowns) in 2010-2011. The Bears were Palmer’s sixth team in five years and he’ll most likely be on his seventh soon.
Palmer has excellent speed, but has been hampered by injuries, has struggled to learn any routes except fly patterns, and lacks the size and strength to contribute as a run blocker. He’s basically a one-dimensional deep threat and that’s not enough to crack a Bears receiving core with more versatile weapons this year. Any guy with sub 4.4 speed will get another chance, but for Palmer it won’t be with the Bears.
WR/TE Marcus Lucas, Missouri (6’4 | 213 | 4.60)– A talented receiver with enough blocking ability to be a potentially interesting player as a tight end / receiver hybrid but the Bears added two more well-rounded tight ends in Ben Braunecker and Joe Sommers as undrafted free agents which made Lucas redundant. I still think Lucas has potential and will most likely get picked up somewhere else and could eventually develop into a dual-threat weapon in a season or two.
OG Dan Buchholz, Duquesnse (6’4 | 304 | 4.98) – Good footwork and movement skills, but needs to get stronger to compete at the NFL level. It’s surprising to see the Bears give up on a player they just signed last week, but they must have been more impressed with guard Donovan Williams.