The countdown of the Chicago Bears roster continues as we also are counting down until the team gets back to training camp. We are looking at the top 90 players entering training camp to see which players will have the biggest impact on the 2023 season. We are still outside the top 53, which means we are focusing on who has the best chance to make the roster.
Today, we discuss number 68, Stephen Carlson.
Chicago Bears 2023 roster ranking: No. 68 Stephen Carlson
Stephen Carlson is a former UDFA from Princeton. He has been in the NFL since 2019, although he has not played much in the past two seasons. Carlson was signed by the Browns out of college and made their roster in 2019.
He played 204 snaps as a rookie and then got on the field for 93 snaps in 2020. Then, in 2021, Carlson tore his ACL. He missed the entire season and was eventually let go by the Cleveland Browns. Carlson was healthy in 2022 and worked out for a few teams, but did not catch on.
So, on one side, Carlson is just 27 years old, and he is now essentially two years removed from his ACL tear, so his health is pristine. This could be a sneaky find. On the other end, he was a UDFA who made little noise in the NFL before missing two full years recovering; he is probably a lottery ticket at the best.
The one thing going for Carlson is the tight-end depth chart. There is Cole Kmet and then Robert Tonyan. The rest is a major mystery. The thought would be that both Jake Tonges and Chase Allen would be ahead of Carlson. At least that is how our roster ranking represents things.
Still, three and maybe four tight ends are locks for the roster. So, that does mean that one injury, or even a slip-up by Tonges or Allen may be the difference in Carlson getting onto the roster. That is what pushes him into the top 70, especially when you consider both Tonges and Allen were rookie UDFAs last year. Still, it is hard to push him forward much higher with the questions over the past two seasons.