Breaking down Chicago Bears secondary roster battle

Chicago Bears - Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears will keep nine and most likely 10 defensive backs in total on the 53-man roster. It is the number that they keep every year. However, this year the battle for the last few spots may be more wide open than others.

At cornerback Jaylon Johnson, Kindle Vildor, Duke Shelley, and Desmond Trufant are all but locks. At safety, Eddie Jackson and Tashaun are the first teams, and Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson are right behind as long-standing second-team players. That gives us eight of the ten players, which has two spots open for the taking.

Artie Burns missed last week’s game, but this week he will join Thomas Graham, Xavier Crawford, Jordan Lucas, Marqui Christian, Jalen Tabor, Michael Joseph, and Tre Roberson as the many DBs fighting for that last spot.

After one game, who are some of the leaders to make it?

Defensive snap counts

When it comes to the ninth and tenth defensive back, they are not resting for the season. The team is playing players with a chance to show they can make it. With that in mind, playing time in this game is pretty valuable.

Below you can see how many snaps each defender played according to PFF.

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Jalen Tabor led the way with Marqui Christian and Xavier Crawford behind him. Michael Joseph played the least, which has to be a bad omen.

Cornerback snaps

Of course, some of these snaps were at corner, and some at safety. Below is a look at how the snaps at corner were divided, both outside and in the slot.

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Keep in mind that Christian, Lucas, and Tabor likely lined up in the slot as they were playing safety, and you will see that below.

With that in mind, Crawford and Graham may have the leg up over Tre Roberson. Roberson was third in snaps and the other two showed flexibility to move into the slot, while Roberson did not.

Safety Snaps

How about their snaps at safety? You could add the slot snaps as well, but that is a nice addition from Lucas, Christian, and Tabor.

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Christian played more slot, and in the box than Tabor, but Tabor played more free safety than Christian. Still, this shows that Joseph did not play any slot snaps, and was dead last of all these safeties in snaps as well. He is not making the team at this rate.

Special Teams

Lucas was a surprise when he was returning punts and kicks, but Christian and Tabor saw more work and versatility on defense. Did Lucas stand out on special teams aside from returns?

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No, in fact, Tabor and Christian actually played more than him. Considering he is behind Khalil Herbert to return kicks and Tarik Cohen to return, the fact that other safeties got work on actual special teams while Lucas wasted snaps as a backup return man may have been a bad thing while many saw it as a good thing.

Tabor and Christian showed more value in other areas.

On the cornerback side, Crawford was over Roberson and Graham in special teams snaps. Joseph beat out Roberson and Graham for what it is worth.

Early prognostication of Chicago Bears defensive back

Keep in mind that Artie Burns has not practiced, but also that they will likely keep one cornerback and one safety.

Next. 5 underrated risers in Bears camp. dark


1. Xavier Crawford

2. Thomas Graham

3. Tre Roberson


1. Teez Tabor

2. Marqui Christian

3. Jordan Lucas

4. Michael Joseph