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Bears 53-Man Roster Projection: Is Linebacker Depth Concerning?

Editor/Lead Bears Writer Jack Soble takes a look that and a few more controversial roster battles.

The Bears were shellacked by the New York Giants on Thursday night. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that almost every one of their regular season contributors was a healthy scratch, but it did raise more questions than answers about the back-of-the-roster battles that have been raging on since late July.

It also gave us some – but not final – clarity on the ongoing kicker situation.

The favorite for that job is clear, at least for now, but same cannot be said about many other spots on the roster. Here is my complete prediction after Week Two of the preseason.

Week Two 53-Man Roster Projection (Changes from last week in Italics)

Quarterbacks (2): Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel

Running Backs (4): Tarik Cohen, Mike Davis, David Montgomery, Kerrith Whyte Jr.

Wide Receivers (7): Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson, Javon Wims, Riley Ridley, Marvin Hall

Tight Ends (4): Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker, Bradley Sowell

Offensive Line (8): Charles Leno Jr., Cody Whitehair, James Daniels, Kyle Long, Bobby Massie, T.J. Clemmings, Ted Larsen, Alex Bars

Defensive Line (5): Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Bilal Nichols, Roy Robertson-HarrisNick Williams

Outside Linebackers (5): Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, Aaron Lynch, Isaiah Irving, James Vaughters

Inside Linebackers (5): Danny Trevathan, Roquan Smith, Nick Kwiatkoski, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Kevin Pierre-Louis

Cornerbacks (5): Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Buster Skrine, Duke Shelley, Kevin Toliver

Safeties (5): Eddie Jackson, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Sherrick McManis

Kicker: Eddy Piñeiro

Punter: Pat O’Donnell

Long Snapper: Patrick Scales

Practice Squad (10): QB Tyler Bray, RB Ryan Nall, WR Tanner Gentry, TE Dax Raymond, TE Ian Bunting, DL Abdullah Anderson, OLB Chuck Harris, ILB Josh Woods, CB Michael JosephCB John Franklin III

IR (2): OL Rashaad Coward (designated for return), CB Stephen Denmark

Notable Additions/Omissions

The Bears are entertaining multiple battles for the last few spots on the 53-man roster, so naturally Twitter didn’t agree with every one of my predictions when I tweeted out the projected roster. Here are more detailed thoughts on a few of the more common questions, comments, and concerns that I received.

Jonathan Bullard

This is the most surprising omission to my list, but one that when you think about it isn’t actually that surprising at all. In three years, he hasn’t shown any signs whatsoever of being able to turn his excellent burst off the line of scrimmage into actual production. Beyond that first step, which really only shows up once a game, if that, he has no real NFL-caliber skills as a defensive lineman.

This preseason, without Hicks or Goldman by his side, Bullard has been a straight-up liability. He’s been outplayed by Williams, who can fill in at nose unlike the Florida man. In this mock, the Bears cut their losses and say goodbye to a third-round pick that just didn’t pan out.

Marvin Hall

With the preseason performance of Wims and the promise of Ridley, many fans in my mentions were eager to cut Hall in favor of an extra TE, an extra DB, or even someone like Gentry (hard no on that last one). I see that argument, but I think Hall has played well enough as a receiver and showcased enough speed to be worth a spot. If Tyler Bray didn’t exist, he’d have at least two touchdowns in two weeks thus far.

He also has a reputation as an asset on special teams. In the end, that’s really why he makes the team.

Clifton Duck

Trust me, I’m as big a fan of him – specifically his name – as anyone. If he makes another play next week like his diving goal-line interception (which was forced in part by Vaughters, who came out of nowhere to earn a spot on my list) in New York, I’ll probably kick Gentry off the practice squad and add Quack Attack.

That being said, Duck is still small and not very fast, and he didn’t look great against Carolina. He’s going to have to go all out in attempting to display a superb nose for the football in these last two weeks, in order to convince Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy that he’s worth keeping around.

Joel Iyiegbuniwe

Calls for Iyiegbuniwe’s head ran rampant in my replies when I tweeted out the roster, along with much of the same for Kwiatkoski. Woods has many fans who would like to see him make the 53 after a forced fumble against Carolina and solid play last week.

Long story short – no one is picking up Woods off of waivers and I don’t think they give up on “Iggy” just yet. However, I’m not remotely comfortable with the former fourth rounder as the Bears’ first inside linebacker off the bench. The continuing good health (Knock. On. Wood.) of Trevathan and Smith could not be more crucial than it is right now, because putting in Kwiatkoski, Iyiegbuniwe, Woods, or Pierre-Louis could result in disaster.

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2 comments on “Bears 53-Man Roster Projection: Is Linebacker Depth Concerning?

  1. You have 6 cornerbacks listed but only five actual names.

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