The Chicago Bears wrapped up their preseason and now focus on thinning the roster down to the final 53 players.
It’s been an up and down preseason for the Chicago Bears. The team finished on a high note with a 21-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Exhibition football is now behind them. Ryan Pace and John Fox will spend the next few days reducing the roster to the final 53 players.
There are plenty of locks on the roster, but with plenty of injuries and question marks, there will be a few surprises when the Bears announce their final decisions. Here’s a prediction as to who the Bears will announce as their 53-man roster on Saturday.
One thing to note, Pace will almost certainly be active on the waiver wire over the weekend, even if somehow this prediction proves to be 100% accurate (it won’t), Pace will replace two or three of these players with waived players off other rosters.
Quarterback- (2)- Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer
Despite Brian Hoyer’s weak preseason, his spot on the roster was never in doubt. It was nice to see him look competent against Cleveland. The Bears will keep a third quarterback on their practice squad. That player will probably be David Fales, but he didn’t show much in the preseason. If he sticks, it’s only because of Connor Shaw’s injury. It wouldn’t be a shock if Fales is released outright and the Bears sign a different QB to the practice squad.
Running Backs (5)- Jeremy Langford, Jordan Howard, Ka’Deem Carey, Jacquizz Rodgers, Paul Lasike (FB)
The Bears are committed to running the football and will use the trio of Langford, Howard, and Carey to keep the chains moving. Rodgers will make the roster due to his third down ability. He’s a very good pass catcher and one of the top pass blockers among running backs in the entire league. That could come in handy with a potentially porous offensive line. The Bears will keep Lasike as the team’s lone fullback.
Wide Receivers (7)- Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Eddie Royal, Marc Mariani, Daniel Braverman, Cameron Meredith, Josh Bellamy
This is a crowded position for the Bears and they will have to make a couple tough calls. Deonte Thompson isn’t enough of a kick returner to warrant a position at this point. Most teams only carry six wide receivers but the Bears might just carry seven.
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Jeffery, White, Royal and Mariani are all almost certainly locks. Braverman is an interesting question. He doesn’t have much special teams value and is third on the depth chart at the slot receiver. The Bears would have to forcibly make a roster spot for him. There’s a good chance he won’t survive being waived to be placed on the practice squad and since the Bears are building for the future, I think they keep him.
Meredith keeps showing improvement and the coaching staff has become a big fan of his. Marquess Wilson will remain on the PUP and the Bears will have to make a decision when he’s ready.
Tight Ends (3)- Zach Miller, Tony Moeaki, Khari Lee
Ben Braunecker is a personal favorite of mine, but he missed time during the preseason and he should be able to be safely stashed on the practice squad at this point. Moeaki has shown competency at the position which is the best the Bears could ask for at this point. Lee or Greg Scruggs will make the team as a blocking tight end. Being Pace invested in Lee by trading a draft choice last season, I think he wins out.
Offensive Line (9)- Bobby Massie, Kyle Long, Ted Larsen, Cody Whitehair, Charles Leno, Garry Williams, Amini Silatolu, Cornelius Edison, Mike Adams
This, along with the secondary, are the two spots where Pace will most likely be active. The Bears will almost certainly carry nine offensive linemen, but odds are Mike Adams will be replaced with a waiver wire player. The Bears will stash a couple extra offensive linemen on the practice squad as well.
Specialists (3)- Robbie Gould, Pat O’Donnell, Aaron Brewer
Gould and O’Donnell are obvious locks. Although Gould is coming off a bad year and a shaky preseason. If he has another down year, he won’t be on the Bears in 2017. The long snapper position is up in the air, but I expect Brewer (and his John Fox/Denver ties) to beat out Patrick Scales.
Defensive Line (6)- Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Jonathan Bullard, Mitch Unrein, Will Sutton, Cornelius Washington
Ego Ferguson looks like he might become the most notable player waived off the Bears roster this season. Hicks, Goldman, Bullard and Unrein are locks, but I expect Bullard to start over Unrein. He has been impressive this preseason. Sutton and Washington have shown enough skill to earn spots as rotational players.
Linebackers (9)- Lamarr Houston, Willie Young, Jerrell Freeman, Danny Trevathan, Christian Jones, Nick Kwiatkoski, Sam Acho, Leonard Floyd, Jonathan Anderson
First of all, Pernell McPhee is not cut, but I do think he’s going to start the season on PUP. With his injury, the Bears basically have ten healthy linebackers for nine spots. The debate sits between Anderson and John Timu. Christian Jones has proven himself too valuable this preseason to be released. I give the nod to Anderson over Timu but that spot is about as 50-50 as it can be.
Secondary (9)- Tracy Porter, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, Adrian Amos, Harold Jones-Quartey, Deon Bush, Deiondre’ Hall, Sherrick McManis, DeAndre Houston-Carson
With the amount of injuries the Bears currently have among the defensive backs, odds are this number will probably be at 10 but this is a tough position to figure out. If the Bears do keep ten defensive backs, the cut will probably be either temporarily at offensive line (until they get healthier in the secondary) or Daniel Braverman. Porter, Fuller, Callahan, Amos, Jones-Quartey, Bush, Hall and McManis should all make the roster. That ninth (and tenth) spot is a total roll of the dice.
Houston-Carson has the inside track to make the team, especially being he appears to be a phenomenal talent on special teams. De’Vante Bausby and Jacoby Glenn will also get long looks and could end up on the practice squad. Chris Prosinski also has a chance at the roster, but he will most likely find himself looking for a new team. Undrafted rookie Kevin Peterson is a long shot considering the Bears waived him when they tried to acquire K’Waun Williams and only kept his roster spot when Williams failed his physical.