Chicago Bears: Way-too-early prediction of 2021 Week 1 defensive starters

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Defense
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

About a month ago I looked at the offense and projected who I believe will make the starting roster for Week 1 of the 2021 season. For as much change there has been on the offensive side of the ball, the defensive side of the ball has seen slightly less. However, the loss of one key player makes everything feel “different” this season when it comes to the defense. Hopefully, first-time defensive coordinator Sean Desai can work his Vic Fangio magic and help the team succeed.

With Kyle Fuller now in Denver with Fangio himself, the Chicago Bears have a glaring weakness at cornerback. Ryan Pace found himself in a rough salary cap situation (partly to blame to COVID-19) and had to cut Fuller after he would not take a pay cut. Pace brought in a few fresh faces to try and replace Fuller. Unfortunately, none of them have the potential to be as good or better than Fuller.

Who will earn the starting nod on defense for the Chicago Bears?

Even though there has not been a drastic change to the front seven, this defense needs to find a way to generate more sacks and pressure. The team had a historic type season defensively in 2018. The defense has not been able to come close to that production since. From a sacks perspective, the team had 35 last year and only 32 in 2019. In 2018, the team had 50. I am not saying they need to hit that same number, but they need to reach at least 45 with these players.

We are still very early in the process, training camp has not even started yet, but here is who I believe is most likely to start come Week 1 of the season.