With organized team activities - or OTA if you're feeling abbreviated - underway, rookies and free agent additions are taking the (practice) field for the first time with the team and the Bears' starting lineup has been revealed. With the team's new additions, there are obviously a lot of starting positions that could change between now and the first game of the regular season. So, that means the time has come for a way too early guess as to who will be starting for the Bears once the season kicks off. First up, the safety position.
The Bears have drafted a safety in eight straight years, including three straight third-round picks. While draft picks like Chris Harris, Al Afalava, Kevin Payne, and Danieal Manning have moved on, the Bears currently have their three most recent picks (Chris Conte, Major Wright, Brandon Hardin) and 2008 fourth-round pick Craig Steltz on the roster. Come September, the starting lineup figures to include two of those four names.
Major Wright started ten games last season at the free safety spot last season, finishing the year with three interceptions and forty-one tackles. Chris Conte surprised many by entering the starting lineup after the team benched Brandon Meriwether and Chris Harris after the Monday Night debacle against the Lions, starting nine games in total and collecting one interception and twenty-seven tackles. After earning only two starts in his first three years with the team, Craig Steltz managed five starts in part due to the release of Chris Harris and the ineffectiveness of Meriwether (not to mention Wright's injury issues).
With so many shuffling safety lineups the past few seasons, I'm sure next year will be no different (but fingers-crossed, anyway). Could Hardin eventually pull a Conte and find his way in the starting lineup? Will Major Wright survive preseason to start again? Hit the poll at the end to identify your projected starting safety lineup for week one against the Luck-y Colts.