FanPost

Defining the Bears' needs for the offseason

I love Lester's "Roster Turnover" series, but it really was more of a positional analysis than an actual breakdown of who he predicts will be on the roster in 2014. I needed to see what the actual needs (defined as spots on the 53-man roster) are. Since I went through the process, I'll share my analysis:

First, a listing of the Bears roster from the end of 2013 (* indicates Player is a 2014 Free Agent) - I am not including our three ST specialists:

QB

Jay Cutler

Josh McCown*

Jordan Palmer*

WR

Brandon Marshall

Earl Bennett

Marquess Wilson

WR2

Alshon Jeffery

Eric Weems

Chris Williams

RB

Matt Forte

Michael Bush

Michael Ford

FB

Tony Fiammetta



LT

Jermon Bushrod

Jonathan Scott*

Joe Long

LG

Matt Slauson



C

Roberto Garza*

Taylor Boggs


RG

Kyle Long

James Brown


RT

Jordan Mills

Eben Britton*


TE

Martellus Bennett

Dante Rosario*

Fendi Onobon

LDE

Corey Wootton*

Shea McClellin

Cornelius Washington

DT

Henry Melton*

Jeremiah Ratliff*

Tracy Robertson

NT

Stephen Paea

Landon Cohen*

Nate Collins**

RDE

Julius Peppers

David Bass

Cheta Ozougwu

WLB

Lance Briggs

Khaseem Greene


MLB

D.J. Williams*

Jonathan Bostic

Lawrence Wilson

SLB

James Anderson*

Blake Costanzo*

Jerry Franklin

LCB

Tim Jennings

Sherrick McManis*

Kelvin Hayden*

RCB

Charles Tillman*

Zack Bowman*

Isaiah Frey

SS

Major Wright*

Anthony Walters**

Sean Cattouse

FS

Chris Conte

Craig Steltz*


Other players currently on the roster: Terrance Tolliver (WR), Willie Carter (WR), Zach Miller (TE), Jerrod Johnson (QB), Rogers Gaines (LT), Austen Lane (DE), CJ Wilson (CB), Demontre Hurst (CB), Derricus Purdy (CB), Derrick Martin (CB)

So, that means the Bears' 53-man roster needs as of today (not including camp competition or cuts) are:

QB –2

TE – 1

T – 2

C – 1 (Starter)

DE – 2 (Starter)(with the McClellin move to LB)

DT – 4 (Starter)

LB – 3 (2 Starters)

S – 3 (Starter)

CB – 4 (Starter)

Wow, that's a lot of roster spots. My belief is that the Bears will retain many of their own free agents for continuity and to minimize risk - the coaches know what they have in each player. Specifically, here's who I think will probably be re-signed: McCown, Rosario, Britton or Scott, Garza, Wootton, Melton, Ratliff or Collins, DJ Williams, Steltz, Tillman, and McManis.

That leaves IMMEDIATE needs at: QB (depth), TE (depth), T (depth), DE (depth), DT (depth), LB (starter), S (starter & depth), CB (depth x 2)

But, for cap reasons I think the following players will be cut, creating more roster needs: Bush (RB depth), Bennett (WR depth), Peppers (DE starter)

YIKES!! That means the team needs 3 starters and 10 backups just to fill the roster!!! Look, there's a chart:

QB

Jay Cutler

Josh McCown*

XXXXXXX

WR

Brandon Marshall

XXXXXXX

Marquess Wilson

WR2

Alshon Jeffery

Eric Weems

Chris Williams

RB

Matt Forte

XXXXXXX

Michael Ford

FB

Tony Fiammetta



LT

Jermon Bushrod

Jonathan Scott* or Eben Britton*

Joe Long

LG

Matt Slauson



C

Roberto Garza*

Taylor Boggs


RG

Kyle Long

James Brown


RT

Jordan Mills

XXXXXXX

TE

Martellus Bennett

Dante Rosario*

XXXXXXX

LDE

Corey Wootton*

XXXXXXX

Cornelius Washington

DT

Henry Melton*

Jeremiah Ratliff*

Tracy Robertson

NT

Stephen Paea

XXXXXXX

Nate Collins**

RDE

XXXXXXX

David Bass

Cheta Ozougwu

WLB

Lance Briggs

Khaseem Greene


MLB

D.J. Williams*

Jonathan Bostic

Lawrence Wilson

SLB

XXXXXXX

Shea McClellin

Jerry Franklin

LCB

Tim Jennings

Sherrick McManis*

XXXXXXX

RCB

Charles Tillman*

XXXXXXX

Isaiah Frey

SS

XXXXXXX

Anthony Walters**

XXXXXXX

FS

Chris Conte

Craig Steltz*


A really, really good draft may get us 2 starters and 3 depth. That means we need (in addition to re-signing the players listed above) a starter and 7 depth players in free agency...just to get a full 53-man roster! (my roster has more than 53 players due to some players who will be on the practice squad, etc..., but let's just play nice and not nitpick, okay)

So, where do the Bears pick up the starters and/or depth?

QB - Developmental guy - we have Palmer and Johnson, but may pick up a late-round draft pick

WR - We have a couple youngsters on contract but I would not be surprised to see a veteran free agent

RB - Bush is expensive, but if Forte is hurt, who can step in? I predict a solid veteran FA pickup.

RT - Depth is needed. we could retain both our free agents, but I see a young FA pickup or a late-round draft pick to challenge for the swing tackle role.

TE - Bennett is on the field most downs, but a complement is needed. I don't believe in the Onobun experiment, so a FA pickup or late-round draft pick will fill the spot.

DE - Peppers is too much money in a year when cap space is lacking and needs are high. We need a starter. A 1st or 2nd round pick fills the need nicely.

DT - With Melton, Paea, and either Ratliff or Collins retained, we need depth. A solid FA pick up or early-round draft pick can push the starters and provide quality rotation.

LB - Lots of young talent will be competing for the LB starting spots at MIKE and SAM. Personally I'd love an unexpected FA splash at MLB to turn last year's weakness back into a strength. But, a mid-round draft pick is more likely.

CB - I just don't see how the Bears can fill all the roster needs without bringing Tillman back. Depth and competition will be brought in using a mid-round draft pick and signing a veteran FA.

S - Steltz is our backup plan and he is moderately capable. Conte gets another year to prove himself. We need a starter and depth at SS. Problem is, I think the early draft picks will be used to restock the D-line, so finding a starter at S would require a special player to fall in rounds 1 or 2. More likely, we will find a couple of 2nd-tier FA players and let them fight for the job in camp.

So, that's it: In the Draft need will force our hand in terms of picks. Rounds 1-3 will be DT, DE, and S, Rounds 4-5 will have us looking at LB and CB, while the late rounds will give us a shot for RT, TE, or QB developmental players.

<em>This FanPost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member, and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.</em>

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