Between a fan’s love for the unknown and a desire to root on the underdog story, players on NFL practice squads gain a cult following and can be some of the team’s most popular players. But more than that, practice squad participants are often unsung heroes who provide depth in a pinch throughout the season. It is one reason as to why building up a solid group of developmental projects.
With that being said, here are some important notes regarding practice squads:
• It consists of 16 players, which is a sizable upgrade from the 10 it had been up through the 2019 season.
• Players on the practice squad can be signed away by any of the other 31 teams. But if a team tries to poach a practice squad player, the Bears could offer them a spot on the active roster. Although, in the end, it is the player’s decision when it comes down to choosing between their current team and a possible suitor.
• Up to 4 players can be protected from being poached each week. If you’ll recall, the Bears were keen on protecting QB3 Tyler Bray. And on game day, teams can elevate two players from the practice squad to bring day-of-game rosters to 55.
Jacob Camenker (Sporting News) has a more informed write-up, which details many more nooks and crannies of the practice squad.
As for who will make the Bears’ bunch, we’re tracking rumors here:
• RB Ryan Nall is on it, per Tom Pelissero. Nall has 24 games of experience under his belt from the last two seasons, and was a core special teams contributor in 2020. The Oregon State product played on 65 percent of special teams snaps last year.
• Brad Biggs of the Tribune tweets the team is expected to bring OL Dieter Eiselen, PK Brian Johnson, OLB Sam Kamara, WR Isaiah Coulter, RB Artavis Pierce, CB Thomas Graham Jr., and OLB Charles Snowden back and place them on the practice squad.
• Christian Shanafelt tweets the Bears are signing Auzoyah Alufohai to their practice squad. If you’ll recall, Alufohai was among the DL tryouts who were working out recently at Halas Hall.
We’ll continue to monitor the situation and will update later.