Training Camp Battle: Who Will Emerge at Safety?

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Kirk Cousins
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Kirk Cousins /

The final piece in our Training Camp Battle series examines the safety position and who will emerge at a crowded position.

The Chicago Bears secondary has a lot of new faces and has a lot of people vying for a roster position. The cornerback position is settled at the top, but not at the bottom, however, the safety position isn’t really set at all.

The Bears currently have eight players that will be battling at the safety position. The Ryan Pace/John Fox Bears tend to stay heavy in the secondary. One could expect the Bears to keep 11 secondary members on the opening 53-man roster. If the Bears do keep that many in the secondary, odds are they would keep 6 corners and 5 safeties.

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If the Bears keep 5 of 8 current safeties on the roster, let’s take a closer look as to who should emerge at those positions.

First in Quintin Demps. Demps comes over as a free agent from the Houston Texans. Demps is a ball hawk that creates turnovers and the Bears plan to have him start and really anchor the secondary. The Bears have been in desperate need to have a player like Demps help their defensive backfield.

Second is Adrian Amos. Amos was a pleasant surprise as a fifth-round pick in 2015. Amos earned a starting spot and looked like he could become a solid contributor in the secondary. Unfortunately, Amos didn’t progress much in 2016 and after two years, Amos has proven to be a useful player, but not a playmaker. Amos almost certainly has a roster spot locked up, but he certainly doesn’t have a starting position locked up. That spot opposite Demps will be open for competition.

A third roster spot will go to rookie Eddie Jackson. Jackson was a playmaker at Alabama and also showed some excellent ability as a return man. He’s been recovering from a broken leg, but he’s on the field in training camp and will compete for a starting position at safety and as the Bears’ main punt returner.

The Bears drafted three potential secondary members in the 2015 draft. They selected Deiondre Hall and Deon Bush in the fourth round and they selected DeAndre Houston-Carson in round six. Bush struggled to get on the field last year as a rookie and was a healthy scratch for much of the first part of the season. Hall played corner last year and is making the transition to safety. Houston-Carson has the talent to be a special teams ace, but didn’t make an impact as a rookie.

CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 24: Chris Thompson
CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 24: Chris Thompson /

It’s tough to discuss Houston-Carson without bringing up Chris Prosinski. Both are special teams players who won’t play much in the secondary. Due to injuries, Prosinski had to play some secondary last year and was exposed on a regular basis. It’s hard to imagine both these players making the roster. Houston-Carson could be a good candidate for the practice squad, but if the Bears are ready to move on for Prosinski, he will be outright released.

Finally, there’s Harold Jones-Quartey. Jones-Quartey has been a nice player for the Bears considering he was a UDFA in 2015. Jones-Quartey is a steady player but certainly isn’t on his way to becoming Ed Reed. However, he’s almost 24 and with only two years of service thus far, he’s a player the Bears will consider for a roster spot, potentially even a starting spot.

The Bears will probably have room to stash one safety on the practice squad, keep five on the active roster, and have to release two others. While Prosinski has made sense to keep a roster spot in the past, with improved depth in the secondary and more quality special teams players, Prosinski is probably the first player to be cut.

Related Story: Training Camp Battle: Cornerback Depth

If the Bears see enough progression in Houston-Carson where they think he can still become a special teams’ ace, they’ll try to stash him on the practice squad at a minimum, however, if he isn’t flashing the special teams skills in the preseason, there would be a definite possibility that both Prosinski and Houston-Carson are let go, especially if the Bears feel they have enough special teams contributors from other positions on the roster.

Jones-Quartey, Bush and Hall will all be in competition for a roster spot, and there’s a good chance that two of three will make the active squad. If Houston-Carson is released, you could see the Bears try to push Bush or Hall to the practice squad and roll the dice that no one else will put a claim in for them before they can.

A safe prediction would be that the Bears keep Demps, Jackson, and Amos as well as Jones-Quartey. If Bush makes strides, he’ll have the inside track to earn a roster spot, but if he’s still struggling, the Bears probably look at Hall or Houston-Carson for the final active 53-man spot.

With Bush’s rookie struggles, don’t be surprised if Hall makes the 53-man roster, Houston-Carson earns a practice squad spot and Bush is the one that the Bears decide to let go before the season kicks off.