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Chicago Bears Roster: Who’s In, Who’s Out?

Projecting who is in and who is out on the Bears roster, which will cut down from 90 players to 53 players before Week 1.

Chicago Bears Roster 2022 Depth Chart
Photo: Yahoo! Sports

On the most recent episode of Bears On Tap, Brandon Suarez and I went through the Chicago Bears roster and tried to project cuts down to the final 53-man version. The episode is available in video and podcast form.

Bears On Tap 2022 Roster Preview Episode

Adding to that, we have put our predictions into this article. We placed each player into one of four categories:

  • Locks: Should be on the Bears roster. 
  • Likely: They will most likely be on the Bear roster, but it would not be shocking if they weren’t
  • On the Bubble: A toss-up to make the Bears roster depending on special teams experience and depth needs
  • Out / Practice Squad: Unlikely to make the Bears roster but could find themselves onto the practice squad

Quarterbacks

Justin Fields is a lock for the Chicago Bears roster
Justin Fields | Photo: Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Locks to make the final roster: 2

Out / Practice Squad: 1

  • Nathan Peterman

Pretty straightforward here. I would not expect the Bears to carry three QBs. That means that Nathan Peterman is the odd man out. In 2021, Peterman spent the second half of the season on the Raiders practice squad. I would not be surprised to see the Bears keep Peterman around in that capacity.

Running Backs / Fullbacks

David Montgomery Chicago Bears
David Montgomery | Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Locks to make the final roster: 4

On the Bubble / Competing for a Roster spot: 1

  • Darrynton Evans

Out / Practice Squad: 1

  • De’Montre Tuggle

For reference here, I am going to use the Packers 2021 Week 1 roster to get a better feel for Luke Getsy. Last season, Green Bay only carried three running backs (plus a fullback) to open the season. For now, I am expecting to see a similar strategy for the Bears roster. I think Ebner makes this roster as a passing down back, leaving Darrynton Evans fighting for his roster life. Maybe the Bears could decide to keep four RBs and a FB. But I think that is unlikely and expect Evans to be the odd man out here.

Wide Receivers

Darnell Mooney Chicago Bears Wide Receiver
Darnell Mooney | Photo: Mike Dinovo/USA TODAY Sports

Locks to make the final roster: 5

On the Bubble / Competing for a Roster spot: 3

Out / Practice Squad: 5

  • Dante Pettis, Nsimba Webster, Isaiah Coulter, Kevin Shaa, Chris Finke

That brings us to one of the hardest position groups to predict for the Bears: WR. In 2021, the Packers carried six WRs into opening day. Therefore, I expect the Bears roster to carry six WRs. I see five locks on this roster, including the recent addition N’Keal Harry and former Packer Equanimeous St. Brown. I believe that this staff had a role in mind for Harry when they targeted him via trade. Meanwhile, I do not think Getsy would have brought St. Brown with him from Green Bay without a plan for how to get the most out of him. That only leaves one spot for the other eight WRs on the roster.

Starting with the easier decisions, I see Webster, Coulter, Shaa, and Finke being left out. While Nsimba Webster brings a ton of special teams experience, I do not think he brings enough help to the WR room to earn the final spot. While I do like Dante Pettis, I think that his injury history, lack of special teams experience, and history of production make him the next man out. That leaves one roster spot for David Moore, Tajae Sharpe, and Dazz Newsome to earn.

Tight Ends

Chase Allen has a chance to make the Bears roster as a UDFA
Chase Allen | Photo: Reese Strickland/USA TODAY Sports

Locks to make the final roster: 2

  • Cole Kmet, Ryan Griffin

On the Bubble / Competing for a Roster spot: 2

Out / Practice Squad: 2

  • Jake Tonges, Rysen John 

The tight end position is interesting. In 2021, the Packers entered Week 1 with three tight ends. I could see the Bears roster carrying an additional TE due to the offense being run-heavy. However, the fourth TE will need to earn the roster spot. Cole Kmet and Ryan Griffin both fit the Y tight end mold and should be roster locks, with Griffin being much more of a blocking tight end.

On the bubble, Naperville North and Illinois State alumnus James O’Shaughnessy is the veteran option at almost 31 years old. He is a versatile tight end who has never excelled in any area but has been a generally solid NFL player. The developmental option here is Chase Allen, who fits the mold of a pass-catching “U” TE. Standing at 6-foot-3, he possesses the speed to separate and the three-cone time that suggests the ability to run crisp routes. Allen went undrafted out of Iowa State in the 2022 NFL Draft. Over the last two seasons, he averaged 2.5 receptions and 29 receiving yards per game in Iowa State’s run-heavy offense.

Offensive Linemen

Teven Jenkins Chicago Bears
Teven Jenkins | Photo: Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times

Locks to make the final roster: 6

Likely to make the final roster: 1

  • Sam Mustipher

On the Bubble / Competing for a Roster spot: 3

Out / Practice Squad: 5

  • Shon Coleman, Lachavious Simmons, Jean Delance, Dieter Eiselen, Willie Wright

The offensive line appears to be the most uncertain position group on the Bears roster. Entering 2021, the Packers carried nine offensive linemen. Therefore, I am expecting the Bears roster to include nine offensive linemen. The locks to make the roster are the expected starters, along with 2022 draft pick Zachary Thomas. Additionally, we listed Sam Mustipher as “Likely”.

That leaves two roster spots open. We listed three players on the roster bubble to compete for those two spots. The competition is between veteran OT Julie’n Davenport, rookie Ja’Tyre Carter, and rookie Doug Kramer. Davenport brings a veteran presence. The 27-year-old tackle started four games for the Colts in 2021. Elsewhere, Carter projects best to guard and Kramer is a center-only prospect.

Interior Defensive Linemen

Angelo Blackson Bears
Angelo Blackson | Photo: Jon Durr/USA TODAY Sports

Locks to make the final roster: 4

  • Justin Jones, Mario Edwards Jr., Angelo Blackson, Khyiris Tonga

On the Bubble / Competing for a Roster spot: 1

Out / Practice Squad: 3

  • Auzoyah Alufohai, Micah Dew-Treadway, LaCale London

In shifting over to the defensive side of the football, we will use the Colts 2021 roster to project what the Bears roster might look like. Last season, the Colts carried five interior defenders. Listed here, we have four locks in Jones, Edwards, Blackson, and Tonga. Additionally, we have Mike Pennel on the roster bubble. Pennel is a veteran nose tackle and might be closer to “likely” than “on the bubble” based on the 2021 Colts roster. After Pennel, we see two UDFAs in Alufohai and Dew-Treadway, as well as Bears practice squad veteran LaCale London.

EDGE Rushers

Robert Quinn Chicago Bears
Robert Quinn | Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Locks to make the final roster: 4

On the Bubble / Competing for a Roster spot: 1

  • Charles Snowden

Out / Practice Squad: 3

  • Carson Taylor, Sam Kamara, Christian Albright

In 2021, the Colts carried six edge rushers on their Week 1. However, we are looking at a count of five edge rushers on the Bears roster unless a UDFA surprises. Barring a trade, we expect Quinn to be a roster lock. Meanwhile, Trevis Gipson, Al Quadin-Muhammad, and Dominique Robinson should be contributors to this team.

On the bubble, we have 2021 UDFA Charles Snowden. Snowden is a Swiss Army Knife type of player with unique size but limited mass. The one UDFA I would highlight here who might be on the bubble is Carson Taylor. Playing college ball at Northern Arizona, Taylor stands 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 241 lbs. Over his last three seasons, he has averaged 0.475 sacks and 0.85 TFLs per game across 20 games.

Linebackers

Roquan Smith
Roquan Smith | Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Locks to make the final roster: 3

Likely to make the final roster: 1

  • Caleb Johnson

On the Bubble / Competing for a Roster spot: 2

Out / Practice Squad: 2

  • Noah Dawkins, CJ Avery

In 2021, the Colts carried six LBs on their Week 1 roster. Therefore, we expect the Bears roster to include five to six linebackers. Looking at the “locks,” Roquan Smith and Nick Morrow are expected to start. Meanwhile, Matt Adams brings a wealth of special teams snaps and experience in the Eberflus defense. Rounding out the “likely” section is Caleb Johnson, who was a special teams ace for the Bears in 2021. Johnson should fit into the new defensive culture well with his high-motor play style.

On the bubble, we have Joe Thomas and Jack Sanborn. Thomas is a 31-year-old veteran who played for Lovie Smith in Houston in 2021. With 1,425 career special teams snaps, he has a strong case to make the team. Meanwhile, Sanborn was signed as a UDFA after the 2022 NFL Draft. The Lake Zurich native earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors at Wisconsin in 2021. Checking in at 6-foot-2 and 234 lbs, Sanborn ran a 4.73-second 40-yard dash. He was considered a draftable prospect by most draft analysts and might have been the Bears’ biggest get in the UDFA class.

Cornerbacks

Thomas Graham Jr
Thomas Graham Jr. | Photo: ChicagoBears.com

Locks to make the final roster: 3

Likely to make the final roster: 2

  • Tavon Young, Kindle Vildor

On the Bubble / Competing for a Roster spot: 4

  • Duke Shelley, BoPete Keyes, Lamar Jackson, Jayson Stanley

Out / Practice Squad: 3

  • Greg Stroman, Allie Green IV, Jaylon Jones

The 2021 Colts carried seven CBs on their Week 1 roster. Therefore, seven seems to be the ceiling for the Bears roster. Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, and Thomas Graham Jr. are considered “locks” here. Additionally, Tavon Young and Kindle Vildor are listed as “Likely” to make the roster. That brings us to five CBs with 1-2 roster spots remaining.

On the bubble, we have Duke Shelley, BoPete Keyes, Lamar Jackson, and Jayson Stanley. Shelley has been underwhelming for the Bears over the last few years. Because he is a nickel-only CB on a roster that has multiple nickel-capable CBs, the writing could be on the wall for him. Although, he does have quality experience on special teams. Keyes played a fair number of special teams snaps for the Colts and Bears in his second NFL season (2021). However, he was released by the Colts mid-season in 2021, which could spell his fate here. He is on his third team in three seasons.

Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson enters his third NFL season on his second team. The highly decorated college player spent his last two seasons with the Jets after going undrafted in 2020. He started six games as a rookie before being active for only one game in 2021. As a rookie, Jackson played a fair amount of special teams snaps. He possesses freaky size for a CB, standing 6-foot-3. He ran a 4.58-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

Finally, we get to Jayson Stanley, who entered the NFL out of Georgia in 2019 with the Falcons. His only NFL snaps came in 2020 with the Seahawks, mostly on special teams. The Bears are his sixth NFL team in four seasons. Stanley is another large CB, standing 6-foot-2.

Safeties

Eddie Jackson
Eddie Jackson | Photo: Matt Martin/AP

Locks to make the final roster: 4

  • Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker, Dane Cruikshank, DeAndre Houston-Carson

On the Bubble / Competing for a Roster spot: 1

Out / Practice Squad: 3

  • Michael Joseph, AJ Thomas, Jonathan Alexander

In 2021, the Colts carried four Safeties to open the season. Therefore, we expect the Bears roster to include four safeties. And would you look a that? We have four locks at the safety position in Jackson, Brisker, Cruikshank, and DHC. Both Cruikshank and DHC have significant special teams experience and the ability to play snaps in three-safety packages.

On the bubble is 2022 seventh-round pick Elijah Hicks. While he might be able to sneak onto the roster with a good camp, he will most likely find himself on the practice squad. Hicks brings versatility, a high motor, and a playmaking pedigree out of Cal.

Special Teams

Long snapper Patrick Scales
Patrick Scales | Photo: Will Newton/Getty Images

Locks to make the final roster: 3

These guys are virtual locks for the Bears roster, with no real competition present at training camp.

2022 Bears Roster Review

Tough Decisions on the Bears Roster

To this point, the Bears’ roster totals 62 players because we have 18 players “On the Bubble,” meaning we give these players a 50/50 chance to make the final roster.

  • Locks: 40
  • Likely: 4
  • On the Bubble: 18
  • Out / Practice Squad: 28

Now, we need to boil the bubble players down to get the roster down to the final 53 players. That means choosing nine of those 18 bubble players who will make the cut. In the graphic below, I have highlighted the final nine players who I project to survive the bubble.

Bears Roster Bubble
Players on the Bubble of the Chicago Bears Roster

The one name here that gives me heartburn is Chase Allen. Although I would like to see him make the final cut, I have a feeling he may need to develop on the practice squad for a little bit first.

Bears Roster Results

Bears Depth Chart Projections
Final Chicago Bears Roster and Depth Chart Projections

One thing should be noted regarding the Bears’ special teams: Velus Jones Jr. Jones has experience as a special teams gunner and should be able to continue in that capacity at the NFL level.

Additionally, the OL depth chart is in flux. I have assumed here that Teven Jenkins will slot into the starting RG position, but the entire OL bears watching throughout camp for developments. The positional flexibility along the OL offers a lot of possibilities for variation.

Finally, the Bears’ rookies are denoted with an asterisk.

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I like spreadsheets and football. I aim to take an analytical approach to my football research while also realizing the physical nature of football and how that impacts the numbers. While my main focus is Chicago Bears, I also write about the NFL as a whole.

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Bill Holland
Bill Holland
25 days ago

The only mistake I see is that Tavon Young is a “Lock” as he is the best Nickel Corner we have had since Bryce Callahan. He will start over Graham Jr.

Laiff
Laiff
25 days ago

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