The Chicago Bears will need to trim their roster down to 53 players by Saturday afternoon, and they will have a few tough decisions to make.
The team will need to determine whether to keep three quarterbacks, the fate of former draft picks like Hroniss Grasu and Deiondre’ Hall, and will have to sort out a muddled offensive line picture.
Before the cuts officially begin, here are our predictions for the 2018 Bears roster:
Quarterback (2) Mitchell Trubisky, Chase Daniel
We’re going with two quarterbacks here, despite Tyler Bray’s familiarity with Matt Nagy’s system and the team’s normal penchant for keeping three quarterbacks. Chase Daniel has firmly established himself as a capable back-up, and Bray would likely be available if the Bears needed him due to injury down the road.
Running Back (4) Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Benny Cunningham, Ryan Nall
Even though Taquan Mizzell has some skill in the return game, the fact of the matter is that Nall impressed throughout training camp and in preseason action, and the fact he was able to be used as both a running back and fullback in the preseason finale shows that the Bears are eager to explore different ways to utilize his skillsets.
Wide Receiver (6) Allen Robinson, Kevin White, Javon Wims, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Joshua Bellamy
There were whispers that Wims could potentially be on the bubble, or that the team may consider moving on from White or Bellamy, but all six of these players likely punched their tickets onto the roster with their skilled play in the preseason. Not all of them will dress every week, but the group has a much different look now than it did last season.
Tight End (5) Trey Burton, Dion Sims, Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker, Daniel Brown
The Bears likely could have gotten away with only carrying four tight ends had Shaheen and Sims not suffered injuries, and then Brown got hurt on Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills. There are a ton of question marks at the position, and the Bears could potentially make a deal here before the regular season gets underway.
Right Tackle (2) Bobby Massie, Rashaad Coward
Right Guard (1) Kyle Long
Center (1) Cody Whitehair
Left Guard (2) Eric Kush, James Daniels
Left Tackle (2) Charles Leno Jr., Bradley Sowell
There was a BIG question here about whether to keep Hroniss Grasu or Jordan Morgan, but ultimately it wouldn’t be shocking to see both players let go.
Defensive End (4) Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, Jonathan Bullard, Roy Robertston-Harris
Nose Tackle (2) Eddie Goldman, John Jenkins
There have been plenty of questions about the Bears’ depth at their pass rushing positions, but this could be an area where they keep an extra player to help that out. Jenkins would seem to be the man on the bubble, but even with a solid camp from Nichols, the Bears would be wise to keep Jenkins around.
Outside Linebacker (5) Sam Acho, Aaron Lynch, Kylie Fitts, Leonard Floyd, Isaiah Irving
Inside Linebacker (5) Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski, Roquan Smith, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, John Timu
This is one of the toughest groups to get into this preseason, as Jonathan Anderson and John Timu could potentially find out. Players like Fitts and Iyiegbuniwe have impressed, and with the addition of Roquan Smith to the group, the linebacker corps could be a strength of this team this season.
Cornerback (5): Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Bryce Callahan, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Sherrick McManis
Safety (4) Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos, Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson
With the surge in play from Fuller and Amukamara, and the strong debut of Jackson, the Bears’ secondary has made considerable gains in recent years. The big question here is whether to keep Deiondre’ Hall around, and while his suspension for a game isn’t enough of a reason to omit him, his middling play during the preseason is.
Punter: Pat O’Donnell
Kicker: Cody Parkey
Long Snapper: Patrick Scales
One wouldn’t expect any surprises here, but Parkey did miss a few kicks during the preseason, and punter Shane Lechler was just let go by the Houston Texans, so it may still be an area to watch on multiple fronts.