Identifying Chicago Bears practice squad candidates

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

The Chicago Bears are going to trim the roster from 80 to 53 by the end of today. Then, in 24 hours they will begin their scramble to sign players back to the practice squad while also keeping eyes on other teams’ situations.

With the new rules in place, the Bears are able to keep 16 players on the practice squad. From 53 to 69. there really are only 11 players who will be released, and not find themselves swing back around to the PS, assuming the Bears do not sign outsiders to their practice squad.

With that in mind, who are the 11 players least likely to come back, and who are the 16 most likely to come back?

This roster will be under the assumption that fringe roster players such Dazz Newsome, Rodney AdamsMarqui Christian, Artie Burns, Jesper Horsted, and Elijah Wilkinson make the roster, and they would likely swing around to PS if not.

1. Thomas Graham

Graham is a lock to make the roster, and arguably a controversial pick to not be on the 53-man roster. He is a rookie and a draft pick, but the reality is that after opting out of the 202 seasons, 2021 on the practice squad may be best.

2. Charles Snowden

Teams who claim players that get released have to keep those players on their active roster for three weeks. Considering how raw and positionless Snowden currently is, fans should not fear that he will get claimed. Snowden should realize spending a year in the locker room with Khalil Mack and with a young defensive coordinator could do him wonders.

3. Lachavious Simmons

Lachavious Simmons spent a lot of time at right tackle, but his tape showed he is way too raw. Germain Ifedi and Elijah Wilkinson will be the duo on the right side, giving Simmons one more year on the practice squad.

4. Arlington Hambright

Hambright and Simmons are locked for the practice squad in year two of their experiments as draft picks. To be fair, after a year with no preseason there were questions about where these players would even line up on the line.

We now see that Simmons is locked into right tackle, while Hambright is locked into left guard. Both could see value in the long term if they can be trusted at those spots.

5. Xavier Crawford

Crawford is closer to the roster than some think. He plays the slot, outside, and special teams and the Bears gave him a long and hard look this preseason, which showed their interest in the cornerback.

6. Jalen Tabor

Tabor was a bust at cornerback after getting pre-draft hype. Now that he has settled into safety he has a shot to stick around with the Chicago Bears. Tabor also could be an IR candidate, though.

7. Sam Kamara

The UDFA rookie out of Stony Brook really flashed this preseason. With such a deep defensive line he has no roster shot but should make the practice squad with ease.

8. Caleb Johnson

Caleb Johnson had a great preseason and is another UDFA rookie who will clear waivers because no team will trust him to stay on their roster with no practice time.

9. Joel Iyiegbuniwe

Iggy had a nice preseason but with Alec Ogletree and Christain Jones in the mix this season he is likely to miss out on the roster. Now there has to be a question whether he would even want to stay in Chicago after they went outside the roster to replace him.

10. Artavis Pierce

Pierce is cheaper and is under more control than Ryan Nall. He also was used more like a running back last season, even though Nall has more special teams value.

11. JP Holtz

The old you cannot make the club in the tub saying. Holtz did nothing wrong, but his absence, combined with the Jesper Horsted ascension has made it that Horsted would get claimed, while Holtz would not.

12. Deiter Eiselen

Eiselen has interior depth upside which the Chicago Bears need to keep around. This would be year two on the practice squad as well.

13. Adam Redmond

Redmond was the backup center during the preseason. Of course, Cody Whitehair and James Daniels can do this in a pinch, but it is nice to have a veteran with snapping experience on the roster.

14. Tre Roberson

Roberson has not gotten chances over players such as Graham, Burns, and Crawford. One of those three should make the roster, and the other two have a better shot at sticking on the practice squad.

15. Daniel Archibong

Archibong is another UDFA defensive lineman who had a great camp. If Ryan Pace could find UDFA offensive lineman like he does defensively, the Bears would be in business. Still, the Temple product should stick around despite a deep line.

16. Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

This is complete speculation, but Wheatley is a tight end turned tackle who is very raw, but very athletic. The Bears did not play him at all, perhaps to give him a full year hidden on their practice squad. Or because he is not going to make the tough transition.

1. Brian Johnson

While keeping a backup kicker makes sense in Chicago, this player should find a job in a kicker-starved league.

2. Riley Ridley

It just feels as though the Bears and Ridley want and need a clean break from each other.

3. James Vaughters

With the ascension of Snowden and Trevis Gipson Vaughters went from making the roster to not even being needed on the practice squad.

4. Josh Woods

Woods is similar to Vaughters. Ogletree and Jones were added while Caleb Johnson flashed more in the preseason.

5. Ryan Nall

Nall provides on special teams, but at this point, if he is not making the roster for special teams he lacks long-term appeal and financial incentives.

6. LaCale London

London was outplayed on what is a loaded defensive line.

7. Dionte Ruffin

Ruffin was already let go once, and his play in the last preseason game didn’t change much.

8. Jon’Vea Johnson

Johnson flashed at times, and could certainly make a case for sticking around.

Next. 53-man roster projection. dark

9. Isaiah Coulter

Coulter was signed late in the offseason. which could be viewed as good or bad depending on what you think.

10. Scooter Harrington

With Horsted and Holtz locked into the TE4 and 5 spots it is hard for Harrington to breathe.

11. Chris Lacy

Reports are Lacy was already let go. He has less upside than Coulter and Johnson.