Here are the nine players who will start the year on the practice squad:
- DL Rashaad Coward
- WR Tanner Gentry
- OL Brandon Greene
- S DeAndre Houston-Carson
- LB Isaiah Irving
- OL Dieugot Joseph
- LB Jonathan Anderson
- LB John Timu
- OL Cameron Lee
One of the more interesting names (beyond the players we are already familiar with from their time this summer with the Bears) is Cameron Lee, an offensive lineman from Illinois State who spent time in training camp with the New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals.
The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Oakwood High School (Ill.) product is one of three offensive linemen on the Bears’ practice squad. Lee had a Round 6-7 grade from NFL analyst Lance Zierlein prior to the 2017 NFL Draft. His listed strengths include long arms (33-7/8 inches), natural strength, some good technique, and “a well-proportioned, NFL-caliber frame.” Where there are strengths, weaknesses surely pop up. Zierlein notes that popping up too tall, poor pad level, and a reliance on leading with his upper body in all facets are among the issues Lee faces as a developing lineman.
Still, considering some of the health issues the line had last year and has been dealing with already in 2017, Chicago might need to dip into its practice squad to bulk up the line later in the year.
Isaiah Irving’s development will be worth keeping tabs on. Irving was one of the most productive pass rushing rookie outside linebackers during the preseason and could be pressed into action depending on the health of the team’s outside linebackers. Keep in mind Pernell McPhee (who was removed from the preseason PUP list and placed on the active roster) missed seven games last season, and second-year edge defender Leonard Floyd missed four.
Inside linebackers Jonathan Anderson and John Timu have NFL experience in their favor, but both missed the cut and have landed on the practice squad as depth pieces. If you’ll recall, both Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan missed time last year. At least Trevathan won’t start the season on the PUP list, which was a likely possibility earlier in the offseason.
Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson was a sixth-round pick in 2016 who merits a longer look.