Chicago Bears Roster Moves – Week 11

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The big news for the Chicago Bears this week was placing Pro Bowl G Kyle Long on injured reserve which ended his season. It’s a huge loss for a Bears o-line that has made a lot of progress this year. The offensive line still should be a strength next season with the starting five all likely to come back, the return of Hroniss Grasu from injury, and the hopeful improvement of some young backups like RT Mike Adams, G/C Eric Kush, and C/G Cornelius Edison, who was activated to the Bears roster this week.

Edison won the Rimington Award for the best FBS center back in 2014 and has bided his time on the Bears practice squad since signing as an undrafted free agent before the 2015 season.

He’s not overpowering off the ball, but at 6’3, 305 pounds, Edison has NFL size. He lacks ideal feet for the Bears zone-blocking scheme but has good power in the trenches as a run blocker. Edison also has experience at both guard and center, giving the Bears a versatile back-up who can play wherever he’s needed on the interior line.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bears replaced Edison on the practice squad with another interior lineman and an interesting one in G Cyril Richardson. Coming into the 2014 NFL Draft season, Richardson was one of the top rated offensive linemen and the general consensus was that the former All-American (2013) would be a day two pick.

Unfortunately for Richardson, he had a really bad Senior Bowl where he was destroyed by both Aaron Donald and current Bear Will Sutton. He followed that up with a bad combine, where he looked stiff and slow in pass protection drills.

Richardson’s rough draft season dropped him all the way to the 5th round, where he was selected by the Bills. During his rookie year, he was forced into the starting lineup due to injury and struggled in four starts. His worst game earned a -10.4 grade from Pro Football Focus which is one of the worst one-game scores I’ve ever seen.

Richardson spent 2015 on the Bills practice squad before being released earlier this season. The Bears signed him to their practice squad this week and the potential is still there for Richardson to be an impact NFL player.

He’s a massive human at 6’5, 340 pounds and uses his size well to be a mauler in the run game. Richardson’s calling card is his run blocking ability and if he can keep his weight at a moveable level, he could be a force inside. He also has a good set up in pass pro but struggles with speed rushers due to a lack of lateral foot speed.

This is a high-upside / low-floor type signing for the Bears as Richardson (25 years old) could still develop into a starting caliber guard, but could also be out of the league in a year or two if he can’t control his weight. Here is what a couple of experts had to say about Richardson before the 2014 draft:

"“Richardson plays a very physical brand of football in a Baylor offense that is often identified as a ‘finesse’ system. He weighs more than 340 pounds and uses that size and power to maul defenders in the run game. He has unbelievably strong hands to torque and turn defenders at the point of attack. Richardson also does a nice job of running his feet after his initial contact, which allows him to create a lot of movement at the line of scrimmage. He has a very firm, powerful base in pass protection.” –Daniel Jeremiah, “Richardson has talent. He is just too heavy. If he can get his weight down to about 320, he has a chance to be a starter in the NFL. He flashes being able to do all the things required to be a winning guard in the league, but to be a consistent player and play to that level, he needs to have more mental discipline and control his weight.” –Greg Gabriel, National Football Post"