The Chicago Bears must make roster cuts from the current 75 players down to a final 53 man roster by Saturday (tomorrow) at 3pm Central time. They can then create their practice squad on Sunday (September 6th) at 12pm Central.
I would expect a few spots on the final 53 man roster to filled outside of the organization, but here's my final shot at predicting the opening day roster.
An asterisk (*) denotes the starters.
Quarterback (2): Jay Cutler*, Jimmy Clausen
I thought David Fales looked good last night against the Cleveland 2nd and 3rd team, but it's probably too little too late. Newly signed Zac Dysert kind of reminded my of the skittish Henry Burris. The one wrinkle at this position could come if Clausen isn't cleared from his concussion. If he can't go week 1, then I think Fales sticks around. Either way I think Dysert is their practice squad candidate.
Runningback (4): Matt Forte*, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jeremy Langford, Ka'Deem Carey
With the way John Fox likes to play the hot hand, I've always thought the Bears carry four backs. I could see them adding a 4th RB that excels as a special teamer and springing Carey.
Wide Receiver (5): Alshon Jeffery*, Eddie Royal*, Marquess Wilson, Marc Mariani (returner), Josh Bellamy
PUP List: Kevin White (He does not count against the 53 man roster)
Injuries could force the Bears' hand at wide out as well. If any of their top 3 are going to be out for any length of time, them I think Josh Bellamy is a 100% lock. But if they are all back, and they all were working out a bit last night, then I think the Bears could go with one of their UDFAs as the #5. Either way, I think Ify Umodu, Rashad Lawrence and/or Cameron Meredith remain employed in Chicago. This is also a prime position for the Bears to add a waiver claim.
Tight End (4): Martellus Bennett*, Dante Rosario, Zach Miller, Khari Lee
Lee has to be a lock after the Bears traded a 6th round pick for him, plus he's been talked up as a good inline blocker, so he probably takes that spot from Bear Pascoe now. I could see the Bears cutting Rosario and keeping newcomer Gannon Sinclair to be a special teamer. Four TEs may seem a bit much, but remember Adam Gase likes to run from a 2 TE set and he uses an H-Back.
Offensive Line (9): Kyle Long (G/T)*, Matt Slauson (G)*, Will Montgomery (C)*, Jermon Bushrod (T)*, Jordan Mills (T)*, Charles Leno (T), Vladimir Ducasse (G), Michael Ola (G/T), Hroniss Grasu (C)
I think the Bears will be scouring the waiver wire looking for a guard and a tackle. Ducasse has not been very good and I'm not sure how this staff feels about Ola. Rookie Tayo Fabuluje is a practice squad project.
Total Offense - 24
Cornerback (4): Kyle Fuller*, Alan Ball*, Sherrick McManis, Terrance Mitchell
Veteran Tracy Porter has been too injured to keep around, plus I think Demontre Hurst, who I have sticking at safety, will be an all purpose DB. I also expect to see one of the Bears' young corners come back to the practice squad.
Safety (5): Antrel Rolle*, Adrian Amos*, Brock Vereen, Demontre Hurst, Sherrod Martin
Injured Reserve: Ryan Mundy (He does not count against the 53 man roster)
Martin would be the veteran back up in case Amos struggles, and as mentioned above, Hurst can play safety, corner and nickle.
Defensive line (6): Eddie Goldman*, Jarvis Jenkins*, Ego Ferguson*, Will Sutton, Cornelius Washington, Brandon Dunn
Suspended: Jeremiah Ratliff (He does not count against the 53 man roster)
If Goldman is expected to miss a lot with his concussion, I could see the Bears keeping David Carter around. I though rookie UDFA Terry Williams had his best showing last night, but I still see him going to the practice squad.
Outside Linebacker (6): Pernell McPhee*, Jared Allen*, Lamarr Houston, Sam Acho, Willie Young, David Bass
Allen, Young and Houston are all candidates to play from a 3 point stance on passing downs. The recent comments from John Fox about Young lead me to believe he's either a lock or he's blowing smoke to drum up trade interest. I would like to think that a healthy Young has some value as a pass rusher somewhere. I think Kyle Woestmann has some upside and I think he returns for the practice squad.
Inside Linebacker (5): Christian Jones*, Shea McClellin*, Mason Foster, Matthew Wells, John Timu
I just don't think Jon Bostic has done enough to warrant a roster spot. Wells should be a core special teamer and Timu has flashed all preseason. I like Jonathan Anderson as a practice squad candidate.
Total Defense - 26
Kicker (1): Robbie Gould
Punter (1): Pat O'Donnell
Long snapper (1): Thomas Gafford