The Chicago Bears continue to churn the bottom of their 53-man roster in order to find some potential core players for the future. Some of the recent moves have paid off well, like the signing of TE Daniel Brown a few weeks ago. Most of the roster moves won’t have any impact, but every once in awhile they work out and the Bears find a player.
The Bears made a few more moves this week, which I’ll break down below.
Bears Roster Moves
1.) Place OT Mike Adams on Injured Reserve
A former second-round pick of the Steelers in 2012, who was released after a lengthy rehab from a serious back injury, but looked like a potential long-term option for the Bears as a swing tackle.
After getting two starts with the Bears it was pretty clear that Adams hadn’t regained the form that made him a second round pick a few years ago. After another back injury, the Bears decided to cut ties with Adams. It was probably the right move as even when healthy he struggled at right tackle and another back injury eliminated any value he may have had as depth.
2.) Signed OT Matt McCants
A former 6th round pick by the Giants in 2012, McCants didn’t play as a rookie and was signed by the Raiders in 2013. He started three games in three seasons for Oakland before being released early this year. McCants was signed by the Browns but released to make room for their recent signing of RG3.
The Bears moved quickly to sign McCants after he was waived by the Browns to replace the injured Mike Adams as a swing tackle. McCants has good size at 6’6, 318, long arms, and quick feet for a big man. Despite some promising traits, McCants hasn’t been able to secure any playing time in four seasons in the league so is a long shot to have much value for the Bears.
3.) Signed TE MyCole Pruitt
A former 5th round pick of the Vikings in the 2015 draft, Pruitt showed a lot of potential as a rookie appearing in all 16 games with three starts. Pruitt not only played as a rookie, but caught 10 passes for 89 yards.
Injuries have limited Pruitt to just two games this season and one catch for seven yards. At just 6’2, 251 pounds, Pruitt is mostly a receiving tight end and could compete with Daniel Brown and Ben Braunecker next year for a receiving tight end role.
Pruitt was a trendy sleeper prospect in the 2015 draft after finishing with top five scores in five of the six combine drills for his position (4.58 40, 38″ vertical, 118″ broad, 4.37 20-shuttle, 11.85 60-shuttle). His 40 and vertical marks were the best among all tight ends at the combine and he also performed well in the NFL Shrine Game.
Pruitt has the potential to be a dangerous h-back/receiving tight end if he can stay healthy. He’s never going to be much of a blocker, but with wide receiver speed and fullback size, Pruitt could be a unique weapon if the Bears are creative enough to figure out how to utilize his unique athleticism.
4.) Lost LB Ronald Powell to Seahawks
Powell was one of the top high school recruits in the nation before signing with Florida, but has yet to live up to his pedigree in either college or the pros. Injuries have plagued Powell’s career and the Bears gave up on him after less than a full season on their practice squad. The Seahawks are Powell’s fourth team in three seasons and maybe they will have better luck tapping into Powell’s immense potential.
5.) Signed LB Josh Shirley to practice squad
The 6’2, 240 outside linebacker was originally signed by the Oakland Raiders after the 2015 NFL draft. Since then he has bounced around the league, spending time on three teams before the Bears signed him to the practice squad this week.
Shirley was a five-star recruit out of high school with the potential to be an elite pass rusher. He started at UCLA, but was dismissed from the team for theft along with WR Paul Richardson (now a WR with the Seahawks). Shirley transferred to Washington where he had 6.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles as a freshman and was considered a potential first-round pick.
His stats dropped to just three sacks as a sophomore and more off-field issues forced another transfer, this time to UNLV. His stats dropped even further at UNLV with just two sacks as a junior and he left after that season for the NFL.
Shirley had an explosive burst off the ball in college, but was raw in other pass rush skills. If he can clean up his off-field issues and add some pass rush moves to his elite athleticism, then maybe Shirley can have some value for the Bears. He’s a long-shot, but still just 24 years old and sometimes players just take longer to mature and develop.
6.) Demoted CB De’Vante Bausby to practice squad
The Bears search for a tall corner continues. At 6’2 with decent speed and athleticism, Bausby has legit NFL potential. The Bears gave him a shot to play this season and he clearly wasn’t ready for NFL action. Bausby still has the potential to contribute next year and the Bears were lucky to sneak him onto their practice squad.
Here is my scouting report on Bausby from the preseason:
"Bausby played at DII Pittsburgh St (with Cards WR John Brown) and was very productive with 11 interceptions during his time there. His length is ideal, but his timed speed has ranged anywhere from an impressive 4.42 (wind-aided) to an unacceptable 4.74 (against the wind). Bausby may not be fast enough to play corner at the NFL level and needs to get stronger, but has legit NFL athleticism with a 37.5″ vertical and 11′ broad jump.He’s significantly better in zone coverage than man and diagnoses plays quickly when the play is in front of him and he can watch the QBs eyes. Bausby is a candidate to be moved to free safety, but may not have the strength in run support.My best guess is that Bausby develops into a sub-package corner who can be matched up against the league’s taller receivers. A year or two in the weight room may put Bausby in the safety mix as well."