Bears training camp preview: Defensive Line

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Corey Linsley
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Corey Linsley /

What needs to be seen from the defensive lineman in training camp?

Akiem Hicks

2017 as big of a year for Hicks as it for anyone. Yes, Hicks was outstanding last season, much better than anticipated. At the same time, he now enters a contract year. If he shows up to camp in shape and looks to only progress from the year before, do not be surprised if the Bears look to try to lock him down to an extension before training camp closes.

Eddie Goldman

Goldman needs to show that he is going to be healthy. Goldman missed a little time as a rookie but missed 10 games last season with ankle issues. Even in the lineup, he looked like a slower, injured version of himself. Goldman is entering year three, and it can be a breakout year. However, if he can not stay on his ankles, all of the hype will be for not.

Jaye Howard

Howard, like Goldman, has a clean bill of health that needs to be seen. Howard missed a lot of time last season with a hip issue. It can be speculated the Chiefs moved on from because they were not satisfied with where his hip is. When he is healthy, he is a starter caliber player. However, for him to earn a job in week one he has to be able to show that he can put in a full camp worth of practices.

Jonathan Bullard

Bullard needs to show a stronger game acumen. In terms of talent, Bullard is capable of being a starter. However, his lack of understanding had Mitch Unrein among others seeing big snaps ahead of him. As a rookie, this is not a huge issue. There is a lot of verbiages, and the NFL is completely different than college football. However, if he does not at least show some improvement in understanding, red flags have to start coming up around Bullard.

Mitch Unrein

Unrein needs to come in with the mentality that he is fighting for his job. Yes, he finished second among defensive lineman in snaps next season. However, Howard was signed, Goldman should be healthy and Bullard has the chance to take a step forward. It was not pretty when Unrein was on the field, and to go from him being second and snaps to the bottom of the roster should be a good sign for the Bears. If it can spark a step forward in play from Unrein, it would only be better.

Kapron Lewis-Moore

Like Goldman and Howard, health is the key concern for Lewis-Moore. He spent four years with the Ravens, and for the majority of all of them, he has been on the IR. Lewis-Moore is an interesting project, and a great scheme fit, but he may never have the ability to stay on the field. If he can, he has a shot at making the roster.

John Jenkins

Can Jenkins win the backup nose tackle job? One of the huge issues to losing Goldman for so long last season is that the Bears did not have a true nose to replace him. Instead, it was a defensive line by committee. Jenkins can profile as the true back up to Goldman and earn himself a role on the roster because of this.

Next: Preview: Center

C.J. Wilson

Wilson has to show up ready to earn a role. He was one of the nose tackles by committee, so if he can beat out Jenkins in that area, the job is likely his. However, Jenkins profiles much better than him, and Wilson profiles more as a defensive end. Can he beat out a Mitch Unrein? It will be a long climb to the roster for the veteran.

Rashaad Coward

Coward can take a shot at the backup nose tackle spot. Even if Goldman stays healthy, and Jenkins wins that backup job, showing promise as a nose tackle could see him on the practice squad. If he does not show that promise at the nose, there is no role for him moving