Leonard Floyd will start at one Edge, who will start opposite him is still a major question.
The Chicago Bears roster is probably the best it’s been in at least five years, if not longer. With legitimate NFL starters at almost every position and depth at several positions as well, it looks like the Bears are finally ready to start competing in games and perhaps even a playoff spot.
But there is one glaring hole on the roster and things haven’t changed much now that training camp has opened. The Bears need another edge spot and that player may not even be on the roster.
Leonard Floyd is going to start on one edge, but who will start on the other side? Aaron Lynch was signed and he could very well earn the spot, but he hasn’t even made his way to the practice field yet. Sam Acho is a steady special teams player and a solid rotational sub, but if he is the starter opposite Floyd, that’s not great.
There have also been rumbling that perhaps the Bears will try Nick Kwiatkoski out there. Kwiatkoski is almost certainly going to be supplanted by rookie Roquan Smith to start inside next to Danny Trevathan, so perhaps Vic Fangio can take advantage of Kwiatkoski’s blitzing abilities and get him after the quarterback opposite Floyd.
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The Bears also selected pass rusher Kylie Fitts in the sixth round. Could Fitts catapult his way into a starting job? Probably not, but if he can stay healthy (he struggled with injuries in college), he could become a situational pass rusher for the team, which would be a big help.
As much as an issue as the edge spot may be this season, it was still handled properly by Ryan Pace. The edge position in the draft and in free agency just wasn’t there this year, and forcing it isn’t how you build a big-time roster. 2019 the edge draft class and free agency class looks much better, but what can the Bears do in the short-term?
The Bears can hope that a veteran edge becomes available like Josh Sitton did for them a couple of years ago to help their offensive line, but the edge position is so valuable, most likely, if an edge can play, he’s going to stay on the roster.
The Bears could take a long shot and sign someone like Kevin Dodd who was released by the Tennessee Titans and was a complete mess for them, but odds are that won’t work either.
Unless the Bears sign someone like bringing back Lamar Houston (but how much help could he truly provide?), odds are the Bears are going to have to deal with what they have. Hopefully a combo of Acho in the early downs and Fitts as a situation rusher and Kwiatkoski mixed in will be enough to keep the position serviceable, but it will be a point of weakness this year, no doubt about it.
Fans and analysts will focus on how weak that edge spot is for the Bears this year, and for good reason, but when the roster was as bad as it was, there are going to be holes as you build it back up, and unfortunately, that edge spot opposite Floyd is the last major hole to fill.