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A First Look at the Depth Chart: Six New Bears Lead Their Positions

Chicago Bears News

The Chicago Bears will take to the field for their first preseason game on Thursday, which means that there’s no better time to browse through the team’s depth chart to get an idea of who will be playing where when the games start to count.


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And, as luck would have it, the team released its first unofficial depth chart just last night!

It’s only August 8, but this version of the depth chart features six starting players who weren’t on the Bears in 2016. There aren’t too many surprises, but there are some brow-raising placements for some guys.

Let’s take a look:

Quarterback*

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Mark Sanchez
  3. Mitch Trubisky (rookie)

Other: Connor Shaw

No surprises here. And this is how things project to look when the regular season begins unless Trubisky makes several major strides with some of the little things such as footwork and conquering the center-quarterback exchange. Much like on the early depth chart, Shaw figures to be the odd-man out.

Running Back

  1. Jordan Howard
  2. Jeremy Langford
  3. Tarik Cohen (rookie)

Others: Ka’deem Carey, Benny Cunningham, Joshua Rounds (rookie)

An ankle injury has kept Langford from practicing, which has opened the door for Cohen, Carey, and Cunningham to compete for second-team snaps. Cohen has been fun to watch because of how the Bears have used him in camp as a joker back, one who lines up in the backfield, out wide, in the slot, and elsewhere. Carey and Cunningham also have potential roles as special teams contributors on the line in camp.


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Tight End*

  1. Dion Sims
  2. Zach Miller
  3. Adam Shaheen (rookie)

Others: Daniel Brown, Ben Braunecker, MyCole Pruitt

Shaheen has been catching everything in sight, but he sits third on the depth chart behind a high-priced free agent addition (Sims) and the group’s most experienced pass catcher (Miller). Sims, who was oft-targeted by Bears quarterbacks on Monday, is an intriguing prospect because he has the build to be a quality tight end, but hasn’t received the amount of playing time necessary to round into form. If the Bears part ways with Miller, then Brown, Braunecker, and Pruitt will be in the mix for a roster spot.

Wide Receiver 1

  1. Cameron Meredith
  2. Victor Cruz
  3. Kendall Wright

Others: Deonte Thompson, Rueben Randle, Tanner Gentry (rookie)

Wide Receiver 2

  1. Kevin White
  2. Markus Wheaton
  3. Josh Bellamy

Others: Daniel Braverman, Titus Davis, Alton “Pig” Howard (who signed on Monday after the team waived kicker Andy Phillips)

Sometimes, the depth chart doesn’t necessarily reflect how things are shaking out at practice. For example, Gentry is listed among the others behind Meredith-Cruz-Wright despite getting some serious looks with the second team. As long as he appears to be on the fringes, Gentry retains sleeper status. Even though he’s had an odd offseason and early stretch of camp, White gets the vote of confidence as the second starting receiver.

Fullback*

  1. Michael Burton
  2. Freddie Stevenson (rookie)

Assuming the Bears carry a fullback, Burton looks to have a leg up on this two-man race. If the Bears don’t put a fullback on the season-opening 53-man roster, it will be interesting to see who the Bears’ third starting wide receiver is … or if the team will deploy more two tight end sets.


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Left Tackle

  1. Charles Leno Jr.
  2. Bradley Sowell
  3. Dieugot Joseph (rookie)

Left Guard

  1. Kyle Long
  2. Cyril Richardson
  3. Jordan Morgan (rookie)

Center

  1. Cody Whitehair
  2. Hroniss Grasu
  3. Taylor Boggs

Right Guard

  1. Josh Sitton
  2. Will Poehls
  3. Mitchell Kirsch (rookie)

Right Tackle

  1. Bobby Massie
  2. Tom Compton
  3. Brandon Greene (rookie; signed on Monday)

As expected, Sitton returns to right guard for the first time since 2012 and Long’s move to left guard is his third different position in as many years. This group of offensive linemen will need to prove to be versatile after Eric Kush’s season-ending injury. To that end, Whitehair saw some time at guard with Grasu taking reps at center – a position he started eight games in 2015.

Defensive End 1

  1. Akiem Hicks
  2. Jaye Howard
  3. Kapron Lewis-Moore

Other: Ray Robertson-Harris

Defensive End 2

  1. Mitch Unrein
  2. Jonathan Bullard
  3. C.J. Wilson

Nose Tackle

  1. Eddie Goldman
  2. John Jenkins
  3. Rashaad Coward (rookie)

With the additions of Coward and Jenkins, the Bears have upgraded their depth along the defensive line. Bullard, a third-round pick in 2016, has bulked up and looked better in his second training camp. After re-working their grades in the offseason, Unrein’s extended look doesn’t look as bad as it once did, as his 75.4 grade ranks as “average” and 48th among 125 qualifying interior defenders. Coward is a player to keep tabs on as an undrafted free agent.

Outside Linebacker 1

  1. Willie Young
  2. Pernell McPhee (who is on the PUP list)
  3. Lamarr Houston

Other: Hendrick Ekpe (rookie)

Outside Linebacker 2

  1. Leonard Floyd
  2. Sam Acho
  3. Dan Skuta

Other: Isaiah Irving (rookie)

McPhee’s placement on the physically unable to perform list because of a lingering right knee issue knocks him down a peg, but outside linebacker is a position where the Bears are pretty deep. Young, Houston, and Acho return from last year’s team, Ekpe and Irving are undrafted free agent depth pieces, and Skuta is a more experienced option.

Inside Linebacker 1

  1. Danny Trevathan
  2. Nick Kwiatkoski
  3. Jonathan Anderson

Other: Alex Scearce (rookie)

Inside Linebacker 2

  1. Jerrell Freeman
  2. John Timu
  3. Christian Jones

If Trevathan can’t give it a go to start the season, Kwiatkoski will get the first crack at filling in as a starter – just as he did in 2016 when Trevathan was lost for the season with a knee injury. The Bears aren’t as deep at inside linebacker as they are on the outside, which could be a concern if they’re without Trevathan for an extended period of time. However, Jones is having a superb camp and could be the team’s most improved player.


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Cornerback 1*

  1. Prince Amukamara
  2. Bryce Callahan
  3. Cre’von LeBlanc

Other: Sherrick McManus

Cornerback 2*

  1. Marcus Cooper
  2. Kyle Fuller
  3. B.W. Webb

Other: Johnthan Banks, Rashaad Reynolds

Both of the Bears’ best top nickel defenders are listed behind Amukamara on the depth chart, but Fuller’s placement as the second-string corner behind Cooper stands out here. It’s a make-or-break training camp and preseason for Fuller, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal with the Bears.

Safety 1*

  1. Quintin Demps
  2. Harold Jones-Quartey
  3. Deion Bush

Other: Deiondre’ Hall

Safety 2

  1. Adrian Amos
  2. Chris Prosinski
  3. DeAndre Houston-Carson

Other: Eddie Jackson (rookie)

Because of how good he has looked in practices, it comes as a bit of a surprise to see Jackson behind Prosinski and Houston-Carson. The Bears could be slow-playing his development, because there is a belief that Jackson could position himself for a starter’s role at some point in his rookie season. As it stands, Vic Fangio’s defensive secondary features three new starters at the four spots among the last line of defense.

Special Teams

  • Punter: Pat O’Donnell
  • Kicker: Connor Barth
  • Long snapper: Patrick Scales
  • Holder: Pat O’Donnell

Kick Returner

  1. Deonte Thompson
  2. Benny Cunningham
  3. Tarik Cohen (rookie)

Other: Eddie Jackson (rookie)

Punt Returner

  1. Bryce Callahan
  2. Cre’von LeBlanc
  3. Eddie Jackson

Other: Tarik Cohen

Callahan returned a kick in 2015 and gained 34 yards, then fielded a punt and gained three yards in 2016. Based on how often Jackson and Cohen are getting reps returning kicks and punts, it would be surprising if neither was used as a primary return specialist in 2017. That could leave Thompson and Cunningham as tough-luck losers, as both have the edge as far as experience is concerned. However, it’s hard to ignore the upside possessed by Jackson and Cohen.

* So as of today, these six players – Mike Glennon (QB), Dion Sims (TE), Michael Burton (FB), Prince Amukamara (CB), Marcus Cooper (CB), Quinten Demps (S) – find themselves atop the depth charts at their respective positions.


Michael Cerami contributed to this post. 


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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.