Chicago Bears 2012 Position Battles: Defensive Tackle

Noted run stuffer Matt Toeaina (#75) flashed some pass rush skill against the Redskins sharing a sack with Isreal Idonije.

With so many defensive linemen on the Bears current roster, I decided to do two separate posts looking at their roster chances. Yesterday the spotlight was on the defensive ends, and today it'll be the tackles. The Bears have eight DTs battling it out for what could be as few as four spots. In the past the Bears have carried five and even six DTs on the final 53 man roster, so it could depend on how the bubble DTs perform in relation to the bubble DEs. That final d-line roster number could be anywhere between 8-10.

We should start out by setting aside the obvious locks for the week 1 roster; Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, and Matt Toeaina. Melton will be the 3-Tech starter and the other two will fight it out for the starting nose tackle job. But the loser in that battle will see the field plenty as the Bears love to rotate their d-linemen.

In two preseason games 3rd year pro Nate Collins has 7 tackles and a sack. The former Jacksonville Jaguar has stood out so far with his effort and if I was handicapping the race I'd say he has a spot locked up. The Bears invested a conditional 7th round draft pick in their trade for Brian Price, but that alone won't be enough to guarantee his spot on the roster. Price may have more upside, but Collins looks better so far.

Jordan Miller was on the practice squad in 2011, and he even finished the year on the 53 man roster. But chatter about him from camp has been quiet. That could be looked at in two ways, either he's solidly doing his job or he's failing to make an impact. We'll find out for sure in a couple weeks.

John McCargo and DeMario Pressley are a couple of DT veterans trying to show enough to warrant a spot on the roster. In my opinion both are long shots to make the team. Neither would be practice squad eligible so it's either the 53 man cut or unemployment.

(Editor: Pressley was just waived/injured, if he clears waivers he'll go to the Bears IR)

Another thing to consider is the versatility of starting left defensive end Israel Idonije. With Izzy able to play DT and with the Bears committing to playing him inside on occasion so rookie Shea McClellin can get some pass rushing opportunities, the Bears may go with an extra DE rather than an extra DT.

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