Looking at the Bears’ Season-Opening Roster (Which Includes Khalil Mack!)

The dust has settled and the Chicago Bears have settled on the 53-man roster that will open the season against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 … kinda.

Khalil Mack is a part of the team, but not officially on the 53-man roster. Before you lose it, allow me to explain.

Mack is on the Reserve/Did Not Report list, so he technically isn’t on the 53-man roster. The Bears will need to make a move to open up a roster spot for Mack to slide into officially. Once that is done, Mack will take his rightful place atop the outside linebacker depth chart. So, yes, it happened! It really happened.

For the time being, let’s take a look at the players who made the cut.

QUARTERBACKS (2)

  • Mitch Trubisky
  • Chase Daniel
  • Tyler Bray was the odd-man out as the Bears decided to carry two quarterbacks. Even though he is no longer with the team, let’s not overlook Bray’s contributions to the team – specifically, his help in aiding Trubisky in learning the offense. Sometimes, the best thing a player can do for a team is push his teammates to be better.

    RUNNING BACKS (3)

  • Jordan Howard
  • Tarik Cohen
  • Benny Cunningham
  • FULLBACK (1)

  • Michael Burton
  • Even though the team waived running back Ryan Nall with the hope he would land on the practice squad, the Bears’ stable of running backs has skill, upside, and versatility. Burton might be on thin ice because the fullback position isn’t often used in spread out offenses, but the Bears tried to get innovative with that role this summer by splitting him out wide.

    It’s a bit of a surprise to see Taquan Mizzell on the chopping block, but his presence on the roster might have been viewed as redundant because of the players ahead of him on the depth chart.

    WIDE RECEIVER (6)

  • Allen Robinson
  • Taylor Gabriel
  • Anthony Miller
  • Kevin White
  • Javon Wims*
  • TIGHT END

  • Trey Burton
  • Adam Shaheen
  • Dion Sims
  • Ben Braunecker
  • Daniel Brown
  • At this time last year, Robinson, Gabriel, and Burton were on other NFL teams, Miller and Wims were preparing for their final seasons on campus, and White was the team’s No. 1 wide receiver by default. My, how things have changed in a calendar year.

    OFFENSIVE TACKLE (4)

  • Charles Leno Jr.
  • Bobby Massie
  • Rashaad Coward
  • Bradley Sowell
  • OFFENSIVE GUARD (2)

  • Kyle Long
  • Eric Kush
  • CENTER (3)

  • Cody Whitehair
  • James Daniels
  • Hroniss Grasu
  • The differences between this year’s starting five and the one that figured to be a force entering last season are notable. Kush replaces Josh Sitton at left guard, Kyle Long is as healthy as he has been in a long while, and the depth pieces have upside and development in mind. Second-round pick Daniels is listed as a center and 2017 undrafted free agent nose tackle Coward played well enough to start the season on the 53-man roster. Grasu is the biggest surprise on the season-opening roster, so we’ll leave open the possibility that he has shown more in practices than he has in preseason games.

    DEFENSIVE LINE (4)

  • Akiem Hicks
  • Roy Robertson-Harris
  • Jonathan Bullard
  • Bilal Nichols*
  • NOSE TACKLE (1)

  • Eddie Goldman
  • It would be unfair to overlook the defensive line, so let’s exercise some patience and tackle the defensive end and nose tackle spots before we get to the linebackers. Robertson-Harris and Bullard are returnees from the 2017 team, but will play a bigger role on the line because Mitch Unrein signed a free agent deal with the Buccaneers in the offseason. In an ideal world, Nichols could play at all three spots along the defensive front, so it’s possible he’ll serve as the backup nose tackle behind Goldman.

    Because it’s a bit of a surprise to see the Bears carry five defensive linemen, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears attack the position on the waiver wire.

    OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5)

  • Leonard Floyd
  • Sam Acho
  • Aaron Lynch
  • Kylie Fitts*
  • Isaiah Irving
  • RESERVE / DID NOT REPORT (1)

  • Khalil Mack (!!!)
  • The Bears addressed their biggest positional need by sending draft picks to acquire Mack, who is so awesome, the Raiders sent the Bears a second-round pick in 2020 for their troubles. How thoughtful!

    INSIDE LINEBACKER

  • Danny Trevathan
  • Roquan Smith
  • Nick Kwiatkoski
  • Joel Iyiegbuniwe
  • Chicago parted ways with some decent depth pieces at the position on cut-down day, specifically John Timu. Whenever the Bears needed a reserve inside linebacker to make a start in a pinch, Timu was there for the team. The Bears are going with a youth movement at the position with two rookies (Smith and Iyiegbuniwe) and a player still on his rookie deal (Kwiatkoski).

    CORNERBACK (6)

  • Prince Amukamara
  • Kyle Fuller
  • Bryce Callahan
  • Sherrick McManis
  • Kevin Toliver II
  • Marcus Cooper Sr.
  • I thought carrying six cornerbacks would give someone like Doran Grant a shot at making the roster, but instead it was undrafted free agent Kevin Toliver II making the cut. Toliver made plays early during training camp and in the preseason and has a tremendous prospect pedigree as a four-star prospect coming out of high school. If Callahan has injury issues again, Toliver might be pressed into duty as a slot corner. The rest of the group is pretty solid.

    Fuller played his way onto the Bears’ season-opening 53-man roster with a strong preseason in 2017, then played his way into earning a multi-year extension. Amukamara went from a one-year “prove it” deal to a three-year pact that brings him long-term security for the first time since his rookie contract with the Giants. Cooper returns having carved out a special teams niche to go along with being an experienced corner.

    SAFETY

  • Adrian Amos
  • Eddie Jackson
  • Deon Bush
  • DeAndre Houston-Carson
  • The Bears cleared a roster spot and added a conditional draft pick when they traded Deiondre’ Hall to the Eagles on Saturday. If Houston-Carson doesn’t start the season on injured reserve with a designation to return (something that could also open up a space for the aforementioned Khalil Mack), then perhaps his arm injury will turn out to be less severe than originally expected.

    SPECIALISTS (3)

  • Cody Parkey (place kicker)
  • Pat O’Donnell (punter)
  • Patrick Scales (long snapper)
  • No surprises here as a veteran group that built a rapport throughout training camp and the preseason sticks together.

    RESERVE / PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM (2)

  • WR Marlon Brown
  • TE Zach Miller
  • written by

    Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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