Chicago Bears 2013 Position Battles: Defensive End

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

After looking at the defensive tackle position yesterday, we'll finish up the d-line with the ends today. Be sure to check out the full story stream if you've missed any of our Position Battles so far.

At various times during training camp, the Chicago Bears have moved both starting defensive ends, Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton, inside to defensive tackle. So you figure the Bears will at least keep four true defensive ends on the roster, just like last year when they had 4 DEs, 4 DT, and one d-lineman capable of playing both.

Depending on how much time they intend on having Peppers play inside, they may go with a 5th DE over a 4th DT. The key to the bottom of the depth chart DEs will be getting after the quarterback. If someone unexpected shows a knack for pass rushing, he'll be awfully hard to cut.

Roster Locks

The aforementioned Peppers and Wootton will be the week one starters if healthy. Last year's #1 draft pick Shea McClellin has been having a very good camp, and will see plenty of reps in 2013. McClellin will probably move up and down the line of scrimmage like last year, in an effort to confuse an offensive line.

After theses three, it gets kind of muddled. The quickest way to stand out as a defensive end is by pressuring the quarterbacks in the preseason games. Who ever does that the best, will probably find a home in Chicago.

A good bet to make it

Kyle Moore had 3 sacks and 7 starts last year for the Buffalo Bills, and has been getting reps with the ones in place of Peppers. It's still very early, but he looks like a good bet to stick on the final 53 man roster.

Yesterday we mentioned DL Jamaal Anderson as a guy that could flow between DT and DE, and if he's healthy that could be his role on the team.

On the Bubble

The unofficial depth chart has Aston Whiteside, who is listed on the roster as a DE, listed as the 3rd string 3 Tech DT. He's only 6'2" 255 pounds, so I'd imagine they are having him get reps there for a potential pass rush role. He is vacant from the DE depth chart, so I'm not sure if a position change is in order, or if they just want to get him some work. Either way he'll have to impress to make the team.

Cheta Ozougwu has flashed some speed off the edge in his brief time with the Bears, but he'll have to fight off the other bubble guys for a spot.

Rookie Cornelius Washington is athletically gifted, but he's a raw football prospect. I think the Bears would love for him to clear waivers and make it back to the practice squad.

Rookie undrafted free agent Josh Williams, who was a late add to the 90 man roster, has an uphill climb to stick around, but that's what preseason is for.

There may not even be a roster spot available for any of these bubble guys, so their preseason reps will be an audition for the other 31 teams.

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