It's Never Too Early to Look at the Bears' Depth Chart

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It’s Never Too Early to Look at the Bears’ Depth Chart

Analysis and Commentary

Free agency doesn’t open up until March, the NFL Draft isn’t until April, and training camp doesn’t get started until July. Between now and then, rosters will be re-formed, re-shaped, and re-configured across the league. Even though the Chicago Bears have their core in place, the team needs to tweak some things here and there in order to reach its full potential. With that in mind, is is ever too early to look at a depth chart?

Of course not!

The depth chart below is a rough sketch of what the Bears’ starting point for the 2019 campaign looks like. It doesn’t include any outgoing free agents, which allows us to take a clear look at what potential team needs that will be addressed between now and when the squad rolls in to Bourbonnais.

Let’s take a look at what the Bears have on their hands right now.

Quarterback

  1. Mitch Trubisky
  2. Chase Daniel

The Bears don’t have a developmental quarterback on their roster, but could look to change that this spring with a late-round draft pick or undrafted free agent. Chicago could do well by adding a project now who will be ready to serve in a backup role behind Trubisky sooner, rather than later.

Running back

  1. Jordan Howard
  2. Tarik Cohen
  3. Taquan Mizzell Sr.
  4. Ryan Nall*

Fullback

  • Not available

Michael Burton was the one fullback on the roster and Benny Cunningham served as the team’s RB3 behind Howard and Cohen. Burton and Cunningham are free agents whose roles need to be adequately filled if neither returns.

Wide receiver #1

  1. Allen Robinson
  2. Javon Wims
  3. Tanner Gentry*

Wide receiver #2

  1. Taylor Gabriel
  2. Anthony Miller
  3. Cyril Grayson*
  4. Jordan Williams-Lambert*

No position group received more turnover than the Bears’ receivers, but more changes could be on the way with Kevin White and Joshua Bellamy becoming free agents. White probably needs a fresh start elsewhere, while Bellamy has grown into being a glue guy and special teams contributor. Without those two, that leaves competition among players on reserve/future contracts.

Tight end

  1. Trey Burton
  2. Adam Shaheen
  3. Ben Braunecker
  4. Dion Sims

The Bears could save $6 million in cap space by cutting Sims, but it would create a need at TE2 (depending on how you feel about Shaheen’s future).

Left tackle

  1. Charles Leno Jr.
  2. Bradley Sowell

Left guard

  1. James Daniels
  2. Dejon Allen*

Center

  1. Cody Whitehair
  2. James Daniels

Right guard

  1. Kyle Long
  2. Willie Beavers*

Right tackle

  1. Bobby Massie
  2. Rashaad Coward
  3. Cornelius Lucas*

The starting offensive line returns, but two key reserves with starting experience (Bryan Witzmann, Eric Kush) are free agents who could receive more lucrative deals as swing linemen elsewhere. The Bears have a collection of able-bodied backups and developmental types on future reserve contracts.

Defensive tackle

  1. Akiem Hicks
  2. Jonathan Bullard

Nose tackle

  1. Eddie Goldman
  2. Abdullah Anderson*

Defensive end

  1. Bilal Nichols
  2. Roy Robertson-Harris

Nichols went from a rookie reserve to starting status at the end of the year. Otherwise, this group is mostly in tact – save for outgoing free agent nose tackle Nick Williams.

Outside linebacker #1

  1. Khalil Mack
  2. Sam Acho
  3. Josh Woods*

Outside linebacker #2

  1. Leonard Floyd
  2. Isaiah Irving
  3. Kylie Fitts

Inside linebacker #1

  1. Danny Trevathan
  2. Joel Iyiegbuniwe
  3. Jameer Thurman*

Inside linebacker #2

  1. Roquan Smith
  2. Nick Kwiatkoski
  3. James Vaughters*

The Bears have added some depth among their collection of inside linebackers, but are set to lose outside linebacker Aaron Lynch to free agency. This position group is a strength from top to bottom.

Cornerback #1

  1. Kyle Fuller
  2. John Franklin III*
  3. Michael Joseph*

Cornerback #2

  1. Prince Amukamara
  2. Kevin Toliver II
  3. Jonathon Mincy*

Slot Cornerback #1

  1. Sherrick McManis

As you can see, the Bears don’t have a long-term answer for losing Bryce Callahan in free agency. And if you consider the importance of covering three starting caliber wide receivers in modern football, then you’ll understand why filling the nickel corner spot is of high importance.

Free safety

  1. Eddie Jackson

Strong safety

  1. Deon Bush
  2. DeAndre Houston-Carson

While the Bears don’t have an in-house replacement for Callahan, at least they have Bush ready to fill in if they choose not to re-sign Adrian Amos. Bush started for Jackson at the end of the season and in the Bears’ playoff game, but has skills that could play up at either position. Surely, playing next to an All-Pro will help his learning curve as a starter (if it comes to it).

Special teams

  • Punter: Not available
  • Kicker: Cody Parkey, Redford Jones*
  • Long snapper: Patrick Scales
  • Holder: Not available
  • Kick returns: Anthony Miller, Tarik Cohen
  • Punt returns: Tarik Cohen

*-On a reserve futures contract

With Pat O’Donnell set to hit free agency again, the Bears don’t have a punter or a holder. Some would venture to say they don’t have a kicker either. Between the untimely short punt from O’Donnell and Parkey’s season-ending misfire, the kicking game leaves plenty to be desired.

Now that we have a depth chart in front of us, what do you think the Bears should prioritize in the offseason? There aren’t too many positions of desperate need, but improvements are needed for this team to take it to the next level.


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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.