53-Man Roster Projection: Defensive Backs

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 11: Deon Bush #26 of the Chicago Bears tackles Cody Latimer #14 of the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field on August 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Broncos defeated the Bears 22-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 11: Deon Bush #26 of the Chicago Bears tackles Cody Latimer #14 of the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field on August 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Broncos defeated the Bears 22-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

In our final look at the 53-man roster, we project what defensive backs will be on the team week one against the Packers.

We have looked up and down the Chicago Bears 90-man roster and looked at who is in, and who looks to be out when the team makes their final cuts in a couple of weeks. We have 11 spots left on the roster and the defensive backs to fill it up.

In these projections, the offense only has 24 players. Most teams keep an even 25 and 25 with the 3 special teams (kicker, punter, long snapper) for the 53. The Bears don’t have as much uncertainty on the offensive side of the ball and should be able to stash the bottom of the unit on the practice squad without too much trouble. If the Bears do choose to carry 3 QBs, that would force the defensive backs unit to be cut to 10, because the Bears will still almost certainly carry 6 defensive lineman and 9 linebackers.

First, let’s look at the locks. At safety, it’s Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos. At cornerback, it’s Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, and Bryce Callahan. The other five spots have a certain level of uncertainty.

First, let’s look at safety. Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson and Deiondre Hall are batting it out here. If the Bears cut down to only 10 defensive backs, the cut will be made here. If the Bears choose to carry 11 defensive backs, all three of these guys would make the team.

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Carrying 5 safeties may seem excessive, but all three guys have been impressive in training camp, OTAs and in preseason games. The defensive coaches have raved about Bush, so his position looks pretty safe. DHC is a major asset on special teams and has made major strides on the defensive side of the ball. It’s hard to think he would be released. Hall is probably the guy in question. He has looked solid, but he’s the one guy that might be able to be stashed on the practice squad. If the Bears choose to go that route, the odds will be much higher this year that Hall is swiped by another team. There’s a good chance that the Bears keep all five of these safeties, especially with Amos as a pending free agent after this year.

That means the Bears have three spots left at the cornerback position. The safest spot here is probably Sherrick McManis. The Bears have guaranteed his contract for this season at over $1 million. He is an asset on special teams. His spot is probably safe.

Cre’Von LeBlanc is a capable backup player and has shown the ability to make plays. LeBlanc would need his spot taken from him, he hasn’t played poorly, and at this point, there isn’t enough depth here to think LeBlanc’s spot would be taken, so he is probably safe as well.

That gives us one final spot on the Bears’ roster. The guys vying for that spot would be Marcus Cooper, and probably Michael Joseph and Kevin Toliver.

Let’s start with Cooper. He is on a 1-year, $1.5 million deal with half of that guaranteed. He’s had problems in practices and scrimmages and he’s coming off a dreadful year. It certainly doesn’t seem that he provides much value as a backup DB, especially with a few younger guys on the roster that appear more capable than he does. The prediction here is that Cooper is cut.

There are two UDFAs that are going to fight for the last spot if Cooper is out: Michael Joseph and Kevin Toliver. As of now, they appear to be 1a and 1b for this spot. Joseph has been standing out in joint practices and has looked capable throughout training camp.

Toliver is a fan favorite who was a fourth round, perhaps even a third round talent but fell out of the draft because of off-the-field issues. Toliver has been a little banged up throughout training camp but has also looked good in joint practices in Colorado.

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Doran Grant is a veteran (and former fourth round pick) who has looked solid in camp and would also be in consideration for this spot.

At this point, the safe money is on Joseph earning the final roster spot and Toliver gets a spot on the practice squad. Could another team grab Toliver? Absolutely, but the same can be said about Joseph. The Bears depth continues to improve and they are finally getting players on the bottom of the roster that could be targets for other teams if they don’t make the team.

53-Man Roster Prediction: DEFENSIVE BACKS (11): Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Adrian Amos, Eddie Jackson, Bryce Callahan, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Deiondre Hall, Deon Bush, Sherrick McManis, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Michael Joseph