An offseason of widespread change throughout the Chicago Bears’ franchise started with a new head coach and wrapped up with the 2018 NFL Draft. The changes are drastic and striking (and exciting!), as the team could feature at least eight new starters – or nine, because kickers are people too.
Let’s dive into a preliminary look at the Bears’ depth chart now that the NFL Draft is behind us.
Quarterback: Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray
- No changes here. Trubisky is the Bears’ QB1 and the guys behind him (Daniel and Bray) are here to help the second-year signal caller fight the learning curve. I thought there might be a small chance Chicago would draft a quarterback, but the team rightly prioritized other positions of need.
Running back: Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Benny Cunningham, Taquan Mizzell
- The team re-signed Benny Cunningham since our last update, which rounds out the group quite nicely. It’s more of a surprise the Bears didn’t draft a running back, which is something the team had done in each of its previous three drafts (though perhaps that’s why they didn’t!). Undrafted free agents to watch (UDFA): Ryan Nall, Nick Wilson
Fullback: Michael Burton
- The Chiefs used a fullback on just 17.5 percent of the team’s 1,027 offensive snaps and I imagine the Bears will follow suit. Still, Burton remains on the roster.
“X” wide receiver: Allen Robinson, Kevin White, Javon Wims
“Z” wide receiver: Anthony Miller, Josh Bellamy
“Zebra” receiver: Taylor Gabriel
To be determined: Bennie Fowler, Marlon Brown, Tanner Gentry, DeMarcus Ayers
- Since our last update, Cameron Meredith and Mekale McKay are out, while Miller, Fowler, Brown, and Wims are in. No position has seen as much of an overhaul as the group of wide receivers, which will have new starters at all three prominent positions.
“U” tight end: Trey Burton, Daniel Brown
“Y” tight end: Adam Shaheen, Dion Sims, Ben Braunecker, Colin Thompson
- There was no surprise tight end selection this time around, as the Bears are clearly confident enough to stand pat with this group. Practice reps, playing time, and player usage will be worth keeping an eye on this spring and summer, especially when it comes to Shaheen and Sims.
Offensive tackle: Charles Leno Jr., Bobby Massie
- UDFA: Dejon Allen
Offensive guard: James Daniels, Kyle Long
Center: Cody Whitehair, Hroniss Grasu
Offensive line: Eric Kush, Bradley Sowell, Jordan Morgan, Cameron Lee, Brandon Greene, Rashaad Coward, Will Pericak
- GM Ryan Pace clarified the Bears offensive line situation by declaring Daniels will start his NFL career as a guard, a move that keeps Whitehair as the starting center. The addition of Daniels moves Kush back into a reserve role with Sowell. Since our last update, the team has started the conversion of Coward from a nose tackle to an interior lineman.
Nose tackle: Eddie Goldman, John Jenkins
Defensive end: Akiem Hicks, Jonathan Bullard, Roy Robertson-Harris, Bilal Nichols
- The Bears sent Coward to the other side of the trenches and re-signed Jenkins, who played sparingly behind Goldman last season. The Bears replaced Mitch Unrein with Bullard, then added Nichols as depth along the line.
Outside linebacker: Leonard Floyd, Aaron Lynch, Kylie Fitts, Sam Acho, Howard Jones, Isaiah Irving
- This group has potential if it can stay healthy, especially if Floyd can find his footing early and play at a consistently high level, and Lynch can recapture the magic that made him a standout defender who played for Vic Fangio in San Francisco, and if Fitts can contribute as a rotational player as a rookie. Still, Floyd, Lynch, Fitts, and Irving are each coming off injury riddled seasons. It’s not a coincidence the Bears added four edge defenders in the post-draft UDFA process. UDFA: Elijah Norris, Bunmi Rotimi, Andrew Trumbetti, Cavon Walker
Inside linebacker: Danny Trevathan, Roquan Smith, Nick Kwiatkoski, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, John Timu, Jonathan Anderson
- Adding two rookies to this group makes a strong group even better. Smith should start from Week 1, while Iyiegbuniwe should shine as a special teams ace early who can also provide a spark in sub packages. UDFA: Nyles Morgan
Cornerback: Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Bryce Callahan, Cre’von LeBlanc, Doran Grant, Jonathon Mincy
- The UDFA talent added here is most intriguing. Toliver was a five-star talent coming out of high school who left LSU early. Fant was second-team All-Big Ten who was on preseason watch lists, including the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award. Joseph was a Division III standout who could fight his way onto a roster spot. Since our last update, Callahan signed his one-year tender, making the 2018 season a contract year for the team’s top slot corner. UDFA: Kevin Toliver, Rashard Fant, Michael Joseph
Safety: Adrian Amos, Eddie Jackson, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Deiondre’ Hall, Deon Bush
- The competition among this group for a spot among the reserves should be good. Houston-Carson probably has a leg up on Hall and Bush, but let’s not count out Orr. The UDFA addition from TCU was first-team All-Big 12 in 2017 and a second-team member in 2016. Orr came away with seven of his nine career interceptions during his junior and senior seasons, which is impressive when you consider how pass-friendly the Big 12 can be. UDFA: Nick Orr
Special teams: Cody Parkey (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter), Patrick Scales (long snapper)
- The Bears re-signed O’Donnell, but only to a one-year deal that included just $500,000 in guarantees. It should come as no surprise that the team made it a priority to bring in some competition for the incumbent at the position. Chicago met with Winslow during the pre-draft process. UDFA: Ryan Winslow (punter)
- Scales wasn’t a part of the depth chart when we pushed our last update, but has since re-signed with the team. It doesn’t look like he’ll be pushed by an outside contender as of this moment. The Bears reportedly showed an interest in Oregon long snapper Tanner Carew during the offseason, but he has signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks.