The Chicago Bears released their official depth chart today, and while it wasn’t hyper-revealing, or full of surprises, it still gave us an idea as to how several position battles are shaking down, and it provided insight into whom Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace might be favoring early on.
While this depth chart is completely unofficial, and will likely change in multiple ways before the 2019 NFL season starts, it’s a jumping off point to discuss just how deep this Bears roster really is, as well as what it could reveal about a few specific position battles.
No Surprises Here…
Mitchell Trubisky being name the starting quarterback is obvious, as is Chase Daniel at QB 2, with Taylor Bray filling in the third string slot. The wide receiver position shook down pretty much as everyone expected it would. Allen Robinson II was listed as tops at the slot for the first wide receiving position, and Taylor Gabriel was listed first at the other slot.
Robinson II was followed by Anthony Miller, Javon Wims, Marvin Hall, Jordan Williams-Lambert, and Emanuel Hall. Taylor Gabriel was followed by Cordarrelle Patterson, Riley Ridley, Tanner Gentry, Taquan Mizzell Sr., Thomas Ives and Joe Walker. Of import here is Tanner Gentry edging out Mizzell Sr., who played a fair amount of snaps last year. Gentry has excelled in Bourbonnais before, however, and his preseason brilliance hasn’t previously translated into playing time, but if he continues to edge out Mizzell Sr., we just might see a little more of Tanner Gentry in the future.
Also not surprising is the order of the current Bears running backs. Tarik Cohen is RB 1, with Mike Davis and David Montgomery rounding out the top three. Perennial Bourbonnais all-star Ryan Nall was placed just ahead of recent draft pick Kerrith White Jr., so it seems that the real battle here is whether Nall beats White Jr. out for the fourth spot. Nall has shown flashes in previous preseasons, but he was also moved to the Bears’ practice squad before, so each preseason game will likely be crucial here.
Tight End Intrigue, Chicago Style
For those wondering how the tight end battle would shake out, here’s where it gets interesting. Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen are the first and second tight ends on the depth chart, respectively, followed by Ben Braunecker in the third slot. Free-agent signing Dax Raymond, who had a lot of hype early on, sits a surprising sixth, behind newly minted tight end Bradley Sowell at fourth, and another free-agent signing, Ian Bunting at fifth. If Bunting should continue to outshine Raymond, look for Raymond to become a member of the practice squad, or to be out right released.
The depth chart for the offensive line also offered very little insight, with all five of the Bears starting linemen from last season returning as starters. Listed among second unit offensive linemen include center Ted Larson, left tackle Cornelius Lucas III, right tackle Rashaad Coward, and former Notre Dame offensive linemen Alex Bars, listed as a reserve left guard. Bears offensive coordinator Harry Hiestand has lauded Bars before, so look for him to be a key reserve going forward.
This Bears Defense is Stacked
There are also very few surprises on the deepest side of the depth chart–the defensive side, with Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, Danny Trevathan, and Roquan Smith all listed as the starting linebackers, and Nick Kwiatkowski, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Aaron Lynch, and Isaiah Irving rounding out the second string. Prince Amukamara is tops at one corner slot, while All-Pro Kyle Fuller is atop the other. Kevin Tolliver II, John Franklin III, and Clifton Duck are listed behind Amukamara, while Buster Skrine, rookie Duke Shelley, Michael Joseph, and seventh round pick Stephen Denmark round out the rest of the corners.
One intriguing placement comes at the safety position. Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are the starters, of course, followed by Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson listed as the second string. Here’s the intriguing part: Sherrick McManis, who had a few clutch performances for the Bears last season, is listed as third team along with Jonathan Mincy. McManis has been an impact player on special teams, and will likely make the roster, but seeing him listed so low raises eyebrows a bit.
Still No Answer at Kicker…
In the interest of not showing favoritism or giving anything away, the Bears didn’t list either of their kicking prospects in any specific order. Both Elliott Fry and Eddy Piñeiro weren’t ranked, but we are listed on the chart as “Elliott Fry OR Eddy Piñeiro.”