I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of projecting a team’s 53-man roster early on in the preseason. Yes, that means, for once, I agree with my friend James Fox, but here we are. With a team with a roster as good as the Bears, there are not many open spots.
There are interesting depth pieces competing for spots, however. That allows us to have some fun trying to think like the Bears’ front office brass.
Below you will find my 53-man roster prediction. I will also have notes on different position battles and players that made a positive impression against the Panthers.
Petro’s 53-Man Roster Prediction
Quarterbacks: Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel
Running Backs: David Montgomery, Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen, Kerrith Whyte Jr.
Wide Receivers: Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson, Javon Wims, Riley Ridley
Tight Ends: Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker, Bradley Sowell, Ian Bunting
Offensive Line: Kyle Long, Cody Whitehair, Charles Leno Jr., James Daniels, Bobby Massie, Rashaad Coward, T.J. Clemmings,
Defensive Line: Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, Roy Robertson-Harris, Jonathan Bullard, Nick Williams
Outside Linebacker: Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, Aaron Lynch, Isaiah Irving, Kylie Fitts
Inside Linebacker: Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Kevin Pierre-Louis
Cornerback: Kyler Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Buster Skrine, Duke Shelley, John Franklin, Michael Joseph
Safety: Eddie Jackson, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Deon Bush, Sherrick McManis
Placekicker: Joey Slye
Punter: Pat O’Donnell
Longsnapper: Patrick Scales
-Jon Franklin has stood out to me since the beginning of training camp. The Bears keeping six corners may seem like a lot, but both Amukamara and Fuller have a history with injuries. One of the two could miss time in 2019, and the Bears need to be sure they have players that can step in. Best known for his time on Netflix’s show “Last Chance U,” Franklin has played at a high level so far this year. He has the skill-set to be an NFL player on the defensive side of the ball, but the rawness is still there. If Franklin is unable to crack the Bears’ crowded roster, then he’s worth keeping around on the practice squad.
-For now, I have the Bears keeping just four safeties. Sherrick McManis is a lock because of his important role on special teams. Deon Bush, who had a nice showing against the Panthers, is in a contract year and we can expect new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano to rotate Bush in to get him some looks. Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are the top two guys, but Bush isn’t too far behind.
-After the Vikings traded for my guy, Kaare Vedvik, the kicker market took a pretty big hit. Vedvik was the best kicker on the market. For now, the second-best option outside of the organization for the Bears is Joey Slye. Yes, the same Joey Slye who was perfect at Soldier Field on Thursday night. Slye made kicking at Soldier Field look easy. He’s not going to beat out Graham Gano.
-Like the kicker situation, the tight end position is going to be one to watch for the Bears in 2019. Trey Burton is slowly coming back from an offseason injury and Adam Shaheen has yet to be healthy consistently in his NFL career. That’s why the Bears could end up keeping five tight ends on the roster. It’s hard to see the Bears cutting Bradley Sowell after asking him to make the move to TE. They like his ability as a blocker, especially in the run game. Ian Bunting, while raw, made some very impressive plays in Thursday’s preseason opener. The Bears need to see more, but at the very least, Bunting could be a guy they stash on the practice squad. For now, the uncertainty at the position makes me believe they will keep five TEs on the roster. Keep any eye on this position during the final three games of the preseason.
-Nick Kwiatkoski is not on my final 53-man depth chart because he looked super slow on Thursday night. Kwit has never been a fast LB, but watching Roquan Smith close in on people and play in coverage, then doing the same with Kwit shows the huge gap between the two. This isn’t something new – Kwit has always struggled in pass coverage. He just doesn’t seem like a fit on a Bears defense, who will be playing primarily two ILBs at a time.
Nick is the editor-in-chief at TheLoopSports.com. He is also a Chicago Sports fanatic, avid sports bettor, fantasy sports nut, and totally didn’t try to sell his soul on eBay (which he’s still waiting to get back by the way). For more fun, follow him on Twitter @PetroTLS.