Chicago Bears 2013 Position Battles: Safety

Is free agent signee Tom Zbikowski on the Chicago Bears bubble? - Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Our Chicago Bears position battles series continues on here at Windy City Gridiron. We'll break the defensive backs into two posts, and focus on the safety position first. Later on we'll get into the cornerbacks.

Last year the Chicago Bears broke camp with ten defensive backs, five each at safety and corner. The Bears currently have eight safeties on the roster, so these preseason games will have some fighting going on at the bottom of the depth chart.

It will be interesting to see if including Devin Hester, who is just a return man now, on the final 53 man roster will effect the wide outs or the defensive backs. If Hester makes it, and I expect he does, the Bears will have to sacrifice a player from somewhere.

Roster Locks

The starting duo of Chris Conte and Major Wright started to come into their own last season. The beat writer buzz from training camp has Conte playing well, and Wright struggling a bit. But in listening to the defensive players talking about the two safeties, they say that the game has slowed down for both of them. I don't see Wright regressing in his 4th season, so I expect him to build off his solid '12 campaign.

Behind the two starters there could be some turnover, but I think the next two guys have the upper hand.

A good bet to make it

Craig Steltz may be a Chicago Bear for life. Every year we think the Bears are trying to upgrade, and every year the former LSU Tiger makes the final 53 man roster. This will be his 6th season with Chicago, and he's proven to be a good special teamer, and a smart defensive player.

Anthony Walters is in his 3rd camp with the Chicago Bears, and after an up and down rookie season, he spent all of 2012 on the active roster, making one start along the way. He's currently listed as the #2 SS. His familiarity with the scheme may give him a leg up on some of the bubble guys.

On the Bubble

Many Bears fans are rooting for Brandon Hardin to make the team. Mostly because he's athletically gifted, and he really looks the part of a professional football player. If he can max out his potential, he could be a very good asset for the Bears. The problem with him as been health, and he hasn't played any meaningful games in the last two years. He missed his senior year in college, and his rookie year as a pro. He'll have to really show up on special teams to win a job, because I expect his actual safety play to be underwhelming.

The Bears are Tom Nelson's 3rd team in his four years in the NFL, and he's a local kid (Illinois State/Hersey High School). His battle may be with fellow veteran, and local product (Notre Dame/Buffalo Grove High School) Tom Zbikowski. Both are listed as 4th stringers, but I'd have to give the nod to Zbikowski, as he's the more experienced player.

Cyhl Quarles is currently running as the #3 free safety, and the Bears are his 3rd team in two years. He'll have to beat out a Phil Emery draft pick and two NFL veterans to make the Bears, the odds aren't in his favor.

Who do you see making the Chicago Bears roster at safety?

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