The countdown to training camp is underway. With the days getting lower, we are getting closer to the top 53 players in our roster ranking list. This focuses on the top 90 players on the roster based on what type of impact they will have on the 2023 season. As we are still outside the top 53, we are projecting who has the best chance to make the roster.
Today, we are onto number 64, wide receiver Joe Reed.
Chicago Bears 2023 roster ranking: No. 64 Joe Reed
Joe Reed is entering his fourth year in the NFL. Reed was a former fifth-round pick by the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2020 NFL draft. He made the team in 2020 and was mainly used as a return specialist. However, he was on the practice squad for all of 2021 and 2022.
However, the Chicago Bears signed him to a futures deal in January, and he will now be competing to make their roster. Reed signed before the team drafted Tyler Scott and traded for DJ Moore, so he thought the room would be easier to navigate.
Still, the reality is that if Reed wants to make the roster, it will be returning kicks. He had 21 kick returns in 2020. Velus Jones had 22 last year, so they both entered with about the same experience level. Velus Jones is the starting kick return option, but we know the team is not happy with him. They made him inactive and took away his return duties for a few weeks last season.
When you combine that with the reality that they signed Reed, it is clear that they are not content on just handing the job to Velus Jones. More than that, Nsimba Webster is still on the roster, and he made the team last year. He was a special teamer, and he can return kicks as well.
The pressence of both Reed and Webster is not great for Velus Jones. At the same time, Reed is entering training knowing that he needs to win the kick return job, and you can make a strong case that he is the third-best kick return option of the three. A strong summer in one area gets him on the roster, which is why we rank him this high, but the odds are he does not stick around.