The Chicago Bears’ first draft class under Ryan Poles is getting their first taste of NFL action with training camp. As pads come on we will start to get more updates on these players, but for now, we have a baseline of expectations based on the first couple of days of practice.
How have the rookies looked so far?
Kyler Gordon has hit the ground running in everything that he does. Gordon started with the first team from the day he hit the field, and from that point, he has not looked back. In fact, the Chicago Bears have often moved him into the slot with the first team as well, showing that they can put more on his plate than most rookies. It would be valuable to move Gordon around based on the team that they play, so this is a great development.
Not long ago some fans were wondering how active Brisker would be as he did not sign his rookie contract. The Bears got that done right before the start of training camp, and Brisker has joined Gordon as someone who stepped into the starting lineup on day one. Brisker has not looked back as well, and the biggest note on him has been how active he is near the football. Many see him as the best partner for Eddie Jackson since Adrian Amos, but he may be a better playmaker than Amos.
Velus Jones has bounced around between the first and second teams because the team is shuffling in a lot of wide receivers, looking to find the right group. Jones has flashed his speed at times, and has been on the first team punt return, and kick return teams.
Many assumed Braxton Jones lost his starting chances when Riley Reiff. However, he took first-team reps because Reiff was a few days behind getting into the swing of things. Even still, Reiff and Jones have often rotated with the first team. Yesterday Reiff took snaps at right tackle, and it gave Jones another full day of first-team snaps.
Dominique Robinson took advantage of the absence of Robert Quinn and Al-Quadin Muhammad at OTAs, but both have returned to training camp, and it limited how many first-team reps he has been able to take.
Zach Thomas has been installed as the backup left guard behind Cody Whitehair. He has not moved around, which means he is not really in a camp competition, although he did get first-team snaps when Whitehair was given a veteran day off.
Ebner has been behind David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert in running back drills, so he goes unnoticed at times, but he also works into wide receiver drills and is often lined up in the slot. Seeing his role in the preseason could be eye-opening.
Doug Kramer was thrust into starting snaps with Lucas Patrick dealing with a thumb injury. Sam Mustipher was getting work at right guard, which benefited Kramer, but Mustipher has moved back to center with Patrick out and the two have been splitting first-team work since then.
Carter has been working at right guard and has not moved around. This has helped because he started behind Mustipher, but as he moved to center it has increased his work with the first team. Michael Schofield is cutting into his work now, but he still is getting mixed in, which is impressive considering his draft status and experience.
Dane Cruikshank has been banged up to start training camp and it has helped Hicks move into second-team reps. Still, with Cruikshank back he is likely to move behind him and DeAndre Houston-Carson.
Gill is winning the punter job, considering there is no competition and they have not shown any thought to bring someone in.