In addition to the general positive vibes that have emerged as a direct result of an offseason of change, we’ll soon get a chance to start feeling excited about things that happen on the field. Specifically, potential training camp battles that appear to be on the horizon.
Johnathan Wood of Da Bears Blog made note of an interesting change that has occurred on the roster page of the Chicago Bears’ official website:
Random interesting tidbit: on Bears' official roster, Deiondre' Hall is now listed as a CB. He had been a DB for the last year or so. Wonder if this means the S experiment is over. https://t.co/fXUIvSr5KE
— Johnathan Wood (@Johnathan_Wood1) June 20, 2018
The Bears drafted Hall in the fourth round in 2016, but playing time has been minimal. Chicago tried moving him to safety, but he found himself on the outside looking in. Hall’s return to his natural position puts him in a spot where he’ll have to beat out some pretty stiff competition in order to make the season-opening 53-man roster.
This is the group of listed corners and defensive backs (most likely to be designated cornerbacks at some point soon enough) who will battle for playing time throughout training camp:
- Michael Joseph
- Cre’von LeBlanc
- Doran Grant
- Kevin Tolliver II
- Jonathon Mincy
- Sherrick McManis
- John Franklin III
- Rashard Fant
- Marcus Cooper
Cooper is the most experienced member of that collection of corners, but he has gone from being listed as a CB on the roster to a DB. At this time last year, we were looking at Cooper as a starting corner opposite of Prince Amukamara, but his time at corner was ultimately cut short. Coopoer fell behind Amukamara and Kyle Fuller on the depth chart, then seemingly entered John Fox’s doghouse and ended up taking more snaps on special teams than he did on defense.
The Bears cut Cooper early in the offseason to clear some salary cap space, then re-signed him to a cheaper deal weeks later. I’m curious to see what kind of role the Bears use him in this coming season.
LeBlanc might have a leg up on the others because of his experience (and success) as a nickel defender. Still, LeBlanc finds himself behind Bryce Callahan on the pecking order of top slot corners.
The other projected cornerbacks offer the intrigue and upside that comes with being relative unknowns. Joseph, Tolliver, Franklin, and Fant were priority signings of the Bears’ undrafted free agency class. Grant is a returning member from the Bears’ practice squad team of 2017. Mincy was a Canadian Football League standout for the Montreal Alouettes the last two seasons. Seriously. Here’s a highlight package:
Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, and Bryce Callahan are entrenched in starting roles. Sherrick McManis also essentially is locked into a roster spot as a special teams ace. These four Bears cornerbacks don’t have much to worry about, save for getting their work in, being sharp, and staying healthy. The rest of the group listed above will certainly have its work cut out for it this summer.