We are counting down the Chicago Bears roster with our roster ranking countdown. This list will be looking at which players from the 90-man roster could have the biggest impact on the 2023 season. We are starting things off by getting to know some players fighting for their chances to climb up the depth chart/.
Today, we discuss linebacker Kuomy Deng.
Chicago Bears roster ranking: No. 88 LB Kuony Deng
Kuony Deng was a UDFA from Cal. He is both a bit of a hybrid between linebacker and edge rusher. He spent most of the season on the practice squad with the Atlanta Falcons before the Chicago Bears picked him up late in the 2022 season.
He came into the NFL under 250 pounds, which speaks to the idea that he will be a linebacker in the NFL. However, he spent most of his time in the NFL as an edge rusher, and when the Chicago Bears signed him, it was to fill a need on the edge.
This is where things get interesting for his fit with the Chicago Bears. We saw this offseason that the team is prioritizing size and run defense over smaller and speedier edge rushers. Both Rasheem Green and DeMarcus Walker have over 20 pounds of weight on Deng, so it is hard to say that they play the same role.
When looking at Deng, he is almost more comparable to someone like Noah Sewell, so he would be a SAM. He can play on the edge, but also plays off of the ball, and most of his edge work is actually blitzing.
The issue here is that if Deng is the SAM, he is third in-line behind Jack Sanborn and Sewell. Both names will be tough to beat. He could be in the running at edge rusher, but we cannot rank him higher because he has such little experience, and it looks like he does not fit what the team wants to do.
They added him last year because they needed anybody and wanted to see what he could bring. He did not show much, and the team went in an entirely different direction this offseason. He has a chance to find a role and prove himself, but right now, he looks like a tweener who will find himself outside of the roster.