The start of training camp for the Chicago Bears is one month away, and their depth chart is far from written in stone for the 2017 season. The Bears have made numerous additions to the team during the offseason, with some of them having a good chance of making major contributions in efforts to help Chicago improve on their embarrassing 3-13 record from last year. Furthermore, there are some returning players that can do the same.
More from Chicago Bears News
- Franchise tag and transition tag windows open for Chicago Bears and NFL
- How the Chicago Bears can control the running back market in 2023
- The Chicago Bears can own the city of Chicago moving forward
- Chicago Bears NFL Combine Preview: Quarterback
- 7 best free agent tackle options for Chicago Bears
For the time being, the Bears’ starting lineup on both sides of the ball looks virtually the same from 2016. Obviously, seeing Mike Glennon as the team’s No. 1 quarterback is the biggest change from last season. Second-year running back Jordan Howard has definitely cemented his spot as the feature ball carrier, and the production of wide receiver Cameron Meredith showed that he can be a vital part of the passing attack. Defensively, Akiem Hicks appears to be the anchor of the defensive line, while Jerrell Freeman hopes to be the picture of consistency in the linebacker corps.
As for some of the other positions, starting spots are up in the air. Once training camp and the preseason starts, we’ll get a better indication of who will and won’t be in the starting lineup. Looking at how things are right now, here are five players who can sneak into one of those starting roles this summer.
Second-year inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski may get a starting spot by default. The serious knee injury Danny Trevathan sustained last season gave Kwiatkoski some valuable experience on the field during the second half of the year. There’s a great chance that Kwiatkoski will get some reps with the first-team defense during training camp. How long he stays there depends on how soon Trevathan can return to his normal form.
It’s unknown how tight end Zach Miller will bounce back from the broken foot he sustained in Week 11 of 2016. Second-round draft pick Adam Shaheen definitely has the size to dominate on the field, but the transition from a small school to the NFL could possibly take some time. Dion Sims, a six-year veteran, is seasoned and has impressed the Bears’ coaching staff in offseason workouts so far. Of course, if Miller is healthy enough, he will be the starter. The only way Sims will see a starting spot is if Miller isn’t able to go once the regular season rolls around.
Prince Amukamara may be penciled in as a starter at cornerback alongside Kyle Fuller for now, but his trend for getting injured may pop up as usual. As for Fuller, his inconsistent play at cornerback could lead to the possibility of him being moved to safety. In comes Marcus Cooper. The Bears added Cooper to the roster this offseason after having a career year with the Arizona Cardinals last season. Cooper led the Cardinals with four interceptions in 2016. Don’t see surprised to see Cooper in the thick of things when it comes to the battle for the starting cornerback position.
Injuries have be a major downfall for many of the Bears players; just ask wide receiver Kevin White. The uncertainty of White’s health and durability can definitely open the door for the newly acquired Kendall Wright. The six-year veteran wide receiver could be an asset to the passing game, considering his familiarity with the offense. Wright did have a 1,000-yard season with the Tennessee Titans in 2013, which was at the same time that current Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains held the same position in Tennessee. Wright had problems fitting in during his last couple of years with the Titans. Maybe he can rediscover himself here in the Windy City.
As last year’s first-round pick, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd showed some flashes of big-play ability on the field. As a result, Floyd finished the season tied for second for the team lead in sacks with seven. Although he may still be considered undersized, the 240-pounder can use his athleticism, speed and range to beat offensive tackles on the edge. More importantly, he could easily step in for Lamarr Houston, who tore his ACL in Week 2 of last season. And if Pernell McPhee can’t stay healthy long enough, Floyd could fill in on the other side as well.