Intriguing position battles for the Bears in 2024

Much of the roster is set, but these three battles are going to be
Chicago Bears, Tyson Bagent
Chicago Bears, Tyson Bagent / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
2 of 3

Austin Booker vs. DeMarcus Walker

After last season, it was still abundantly clear that the Bears needed more production out of their defensive ends. Despite trading for Montez Sweat, Chicago still finished second-to-last in sacks on the year with just 30. Sweat's arrival made all the difference in the world, for the defense as a whole, but sacks were still few and far between.

The Bears didn't go out and address this position in a significant manner over the offseason, either. The most notable move they made was trading back into the fifth round and selecting Kansas pass rusher Austin Booker. Now, it'll be between the rookie and veteran DeMarcus Walker to see who takes the other starting job opposite Sweat.

For now, Walker has the edge to beat Booker. A veteran starter will always have the upper hand over a fifth-round pick. But, don't sleep on Booker. He was graded out as a third-round prospect by one of the most prominent draft wizards in the business, Lance Zierlein of NFL Media.

There will be a case made for Booker to start over Walker, especially when you look at just how mediocre the veteran was in 2023, coming up with only 3.5 sacks.

Booker comes into the NFL with limited college experience, which is also why he could burst onto the scene and become a steal for the Bears. His length, explosiveness and arsenal of moves make him one to watch this summer, and he very well could take the job.