Sports

Schrock’s latest Bears depth chart, 53-man roster prediction after last season’s final

The Bears ended their 2023 preseason with a relatively memorable performance and a 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday at Soldier Field.

Quarterback Justin Fields and the healthy starters played between 10 and 15 snaps before handing the game over to roster hopefuls looking to make one last shot at earning a spot on the 53-man roser.

Available roster spots have dwindled over the past two weeks and Saturday’s pre-season final nearly set the 53-man roster and depth chart in stone, with Trevis Gipson’s swap request making the final decision much easier due to the shortage of numbers.

quarterback

Locks: Justin Fields

In the mix: PJ Walker, Tyson Bagent

Others in the squad: Nathan Peterman

Projected depth chart for the 53-man roster (3):
Justin Fields
PJ Walker
Tyson Bagent

Tear down:

The Bears would love to smuggle Bagent onto the practice roster, but I think the undrafted rookie showed he belongs in the NFL. His tantalizing advantage is too good to risk making it through waivers.

Walker’s skill and experience are enough for the Bears to see past a weak camp, but not enough to risk another team getting a chance at an intriguing prospect like Bagent.

Back race

Castles: Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, Roshon Johnson, Travis Homer

In the mix: N/A

Others in the squad: Trestan Ebner

Projected depth chart for the 53-man roster (4):
Khalil Herbert
D’Onta Foreman
Roshon Johnson
Travis Homer

Tear down:

Despite an “open” competition at camp, Herbert is the only running back the Bears have treated like a starter. Herbert missed the second preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts while Foreman and Johnson competed.

The Bears will give Herbert every chance to keep the RB1 job, but I still think Foreman will eventually overtake him unless Herbert’s pass protection improves drastically compared to last season.

It’s a good group for the running-back-by-committee approach the Bears want to take.

Ebner left the first pre-season game with an injury and hasn’t returned to training since. If you are not available, you cannot be added to the team.

full-back

Castle: Khari Blasingame

In the mix: N/A

Others in squad: Robert Burns

Tear down:

The Bears signed Blasingame for a contract extension in the offseason. This place has been locked for months.

wide receiver

Castle: DJ Moore, Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney, Tyler Scott

In the mix: Velus Jones Jr., Equanimeous St. Brown, Daurice Fountain

Others in the squad: Nsimba Webster, Isaiah Ford

Projected depth chart for the 53-man roster (6):
X:
DJ Moore, Velus Jones Jr.
Z: Chase Claypool, Equanimeous St. Brown
Q: Darnell Mooney, Tyler Scott

Tear down:

Dante Pettis, who went on IR on Friday, solidified this group. St. Brown hasn’t done much at camp, but the Bears like his run-blocking and need another larger-bodied receiver in case Claypool misses time in the regular season.

Fountain is late but I don’t think he can overtake St. Brown. He and Webster could both find a home back on the practice team.

Close end

Locks: Cole Kmet, Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis

In the mix: N/A

Others in the squad: Stephen Carlson, Lachlan Pitts

Projected depth chart for the 53-man roster (3):
Cole Kmet
Robert Tonyan
Marcedes Lewis

Tear down:

After the Bears added Lewis, that group was essentially signed, sealed and handed over. Carlson had a brief chance to get into the roster, but the Bears need to take that spot elsewhere.

After signing his contract extension, this season Kmet has a chance to move up to the top flight of Tier 2 tight ends. Tonyan provides a reliable pass-catcher on third downs and in the red zone, while Lewis is an excellent blocker who knows offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s system.

offensive line

Castles: Braxton Jones, Teven Jenkins, Cody Whitehair, Nate Davis, Darnell Wright, Lucas Patrick

Featuring: Ja’Tyre Carter, Alex Leatherwood, Larry Borom, Doug Kramer

Others in the squad: Dieter Eiselen, Josh Lugg, Robert Haskins, Aviante Collins, Logan Stenberg, Kellen Diesch, Gabriel Houy

Projected depth chart for the 53-man roster (9):
LT:
Braxton Jones, Larry Borom
LG: Teven Jenkins, Alex Leatherwood
C: Cody Whitehair, Lucas Patrick
RG: Nate Davis, Ja’Tyre Carter
RT: Darnell Wright, Larry Borom

Tear down:

Jenkins could miss the start of the regular season with a leg injury. The Bears were eyeing him week-to-week, which doesn’t bode well for his availability early in the regular season. This means that Whitehair will step to the left and Patrick, if he recovers, will be the starting player.

Borom is the Bears’ best swing tackle option. Due to injuries, Carter and Leatherwood have both received multiple replays on first-team offense during camp.

Leatherwood is in the bubble, but Jenkins’ injury likely makes him safe for the first 53-man roster.

Kramer should find his way into the training group.

The health of the Bears’ offensive line is a big question mark as we near cut-down day.

After Kramer sustained a hand injury on Saturday, Dieter Eiselen was the only healthy center.

The Bears are expecting to bring back Darnell Wright, Nate Davis and Lucas Patrick soon, but that unit is depleted and that makes roster decisions a little more difficult.

line of defense

Castles: Yannick Ngakoue, DeMarcus Walker, Justin Jones, Andrew Billings, Rasheem Green, Dominique Robinson, Gervon Dexter, Zacch Pickens

In the mix: Terrell Lewis, Trevis Gipson, Travis Bell

Others in the squad: Andrew Brown, Bravvion Roy, D’Anthony Jones, Jalen Harris

Projected depth chart for the 53-man roster (9):
EN:
Yannick Ngakoue, Dominique Robinson
3T: Justin Jones, Gervon Dexter
1T: Andrew Billings, Zacch Pickens
EN: DeMarcus Walker, Rasheem Green, Terrell Lewis

Tear down:

The Bears have good depth on the defensive line, and Gipson’s trade request on Saturday made a difficult decision that much easier.

Gipson and Lewis spent preseason fighting for a spot. Both have blitzed but Lewis has come through against better competition and was close to a squad suspension last week. Gipson is a competent NFL edge rusher entering his contracted year. Even if he did make 53, he wouldn’t take many snaps, so it’s understandable that he’d want to find a new home.

My guess is that the Bears would like to try and get one or both of Bell and Jones into the practice squad. The Bears like Bell, but he’s undersized and needs to develop. He did some nice things with the third team at camp, but he didn’t do enough to secure a spot.

linebacker

Castles: Tremaine Edmunds, TJ Edwards, Noah Sewell, Jack Sanborn

In the mix: Dylan Cole, Mykal Walker

Others in the squad: Davion Taylor, Micah Baskerville, DeMarquis Gates, Barrington Wade

Projected depth chart for the 53-man roster (5):

SAM: Jack Sanborn, Noah Sewell
MIKE: Tremaine Edmunds, Jack Sanborn
WILL: TJ Edwards, Mykal Walker

Tear down:

This group doesn’t have much to offer. The Bears would probably rather keep Cole as their fifth linebacker, but he was injured most of camp.

The Bears signed Walker ahead of the second preseason game. He started games for the Atlanta Falcons last year and does valuable work on special teams.

I thought Sewell would secure the SAM seed but I think Sanborn did just enough to stop the rookie.

Something to watch out for here is Sewell, who left Saturday’s game on a cart with a left leg injury. If it’s a serious injury, things could change here.

cornerbacks

Castles: Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, Tyrique Stevenson, Terell Smith

In the mix: Josh Blackwell, Jaylon Jones

Others in the squad: Kindle Vildor, Macon Clark, Michael Ojemudia, Greg Stroman Jr.

Projected depth chart for the 53-man roster (6):
CB:
Jaylon Johnson, Terell Smith
CB: Tyrique Stevenson, Jaylon Jones
Nickel: Kyler Gordon, Josh Blackwell

Tear down:

There are four locks in this group and Blackwell is about as safe as a non-lock can get as long as the injury that kept him out of action for two weeks is not serious.

Jones offers good special team value and depth of quality. He’ll be one of the last men while he’s healthy.

Security

Castles: Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker, Elijah Hicks, AJ Thomas

In the mix: N/A

Others in the squad: Bralen Trahan, Kendall Williamson

Projected depth chart for the 53-man roster (4):
SS:
Jaquan Brisker, AJ Thomas
FS: Eddie Jackson, Elijah Hicks

Tear down:

With Adrian Colbert moving to IR, Thomas should be included as fourth safety in the 53-man roster.

Williamson could be a target for the training squad.

specialists

Castles: Cairo Santos (K), Trenton Gill (P), Patrick Scales (LS)

Tear down:

There was never any doubt about this unit.

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Source: www.nbcsportschicago.com

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Matthew Collins

Sports storyteller. Capturing the triumphs and tribulations of athletes, inspiring readers worldwide.

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