Chicago Bears Training Camp Preview: Tight Ends

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 10: Adam Shaheen Chicago Bears
CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 10: Adam Shaheen Chicago Bears /

With the Bears officially reporting to training camp in Bourbonnais, Illinois it’s time to begin previewing each of the Bears individual positional groups on the roster. Today, we look at tight ends.

We’ve already previewed quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers.

Last season, the Bears tight ends flashed potential. Until Zach Miller was injured, there was consistent production out of the tight end position. After Miller went down, players such as Adam Shaheen were given the opportunity to showcase their skills. While Shaheen did showcase his skills, it was clear that the Chicago Bears would need to add another player to the position to fortify it. 

In 2017, at different times of the season, the Bears had five tight ends on the roster.

2017 Tight Ends:

  • Zach Miller
  • Adam Shaheen
  • Dion Sims
  • Daniel Brown
  • Ben Braunecker

Of the five, only three (Miller, Shaheen, Sims) regularly appeared in games. Miller and Shaheen were more of pass-catching tight ends while Dion Sims was mostly used as a blocker.

The other two, Daniel Brown and Ben Braunecker were used later on in the year, coming on the field in short yardage situations and making frequent appearances on special teams.

Now, in 2018 things will again look different for the tight ends room.

Heading into training camp, the Bears currently have six tight ends on the roster. And of those six, only two are locks to be on the roster when the regular season begins.

2018 Outlook:

  • Adam Shaheen
  • Dion Sims
  • Daniel Brown
  • Ben Braunecker
  • Trey Burton
  • Colin Thompson


The two locks on the roster are Adam Shaheen and Trey Burton. A major advantage of having both on the roster is the ability to create mismatches as both are big, physical targets.

The consensus is clear, Burton will be listed as the Bears featured tight end, lining up in the slot. In years past with the Philadelphia Eagles, Trey Burton played behind veterans such as Zach Ertz and Brent Celek. Last season, Burton had five touchdowns, while catching 74.2 percent of his passes. Then, the Bears handed Burton a four-year deal in free agency worth $32 million dollars. 

In other words, Burton is expected to come in and contribute right away.

For Shaheen, it’s unclear where he will lineup, but it’s fair to expect him to be on the line of scrimmage. Shaheen brings an advantage due to his size, route running ability, and catch radius.

Not only does Shaheen possess an advantage due to his age (23 years old), but his upside also seems to be unlimited.

These two could form a deadly tight end duo that could terrorize defenses for years to come if they can both stay healthy.

A Dark Horse Candidate

Another player that could surprise and make the roster is Dion Sims. This offseason, there was speculation that the team would move on from Sims. However, they elected to keep him. In terms of receiving, Sims is not a household name. In 2017, he had just 15 receptions for 180 yards. Known more for his blocking, Sims will likely be used in a 13 (one running back, three tight ends) personnel grouping.

Sims could flash a little potential in the passing game, but with the Chicago Bears primary weapons being mostly wide receivers, it’s hard to see him getting any action on passing downs. Additionally, he really isn’t the type of player that can be utilized as a red zone threat.

Sims may make the 53 man roster due to his veteran experience, but with the Bears clearly indicating that the team is going in a younger direction, Sims will likely only be around for depth purposes.

The rest

For Ben Braunecker, Daniel Brown, and Colin Thompson, all three will face an uphill battle to make the roster.

If they do make it, they’ll be used mostly as run blockers.

All three are on the roster bubble at this point. These are three players who can be considered as low-risk, high reward players. The Bears could succeed with or without them, it’s just a matter of how much each player is willing to show that they belong.


In 2017, tight end was a position that was somewhat of a strength for the Bears. And in 2018, it once again looks as if it will be a strength. This a group that could make major contributions to the offense in 2018. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this group be an X-factor when looking at the Bears offense or even emerge and become one of the best in the NFL.