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Bears final 2017 53-man roster projection

The end of the preseason is nigh. By Saturday's end, the Bears need to lock down their 53-man regular season roster. Here's a final projection of that team.

Denver Broncos v Chicago Bears
It's likely the end of any salsa dancing in Chicago
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After a month of grueling exhibitions, one last preseason contest against the Cleveland Browns potentially stands between a few Chicago Bears and a spot on the active roster. The time for evaluation and foundation laying throughout August is over. Now comes the difficult part for general manager Ryan Pace: piecing together the best possible 2017 Bears team.

Based on the entirety of training camp and the preseason, here's a best estimate as to how that 53-man Bears roster will look by the end of the weekend. For a frame of reference, here's my original pre-preseason projection following camp's conclusion.

Time to the play the roster roulette!


Mike Glennon, Mitchell Trubisky, Mark Sanchez

Whether you agree with the Bears' opening quarterback plan concerning Glennon and Trubisky or not, both are obvious locks to make the roster.

No, this discussion instead concerns Sanchez's status with the team. The 30-year-old has seen minimal time in the past two contests against the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans. That's not an issue in the context of giving Glennon and Trubisky as many repetitions as possible. Those two need the practice while you more or less know what you have in Sanchez.

But, many have speculated that if the Bears aren't using Sanchez in these August games, then what's the point of keeping him? (Note: he won't play against the Cleveland Browns either). I'm still of the belief the Bears keep Sanchez around barring a virtuoso performance by Connor Shaw against Cleveland. I think they value his mentorship (as overrated as it could be to some) and prefer to simply use this preseason to develop their placeholder and future for the reasons listed above.

Running backs

Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Benny Cunningham, Jeremy Langford

I have a feeling that if the injured Ka-Deem Carey was healthy, I would've also changed this tailback projection. It's unfortunate the 24-year-old injured his wrist a week or so back, because he was showcasing a lot of value on special teams and as a spot power runner. In that light, I'd expect some kind of injury settlement to be reached with Carey given the timeframe of his injury (still approximately five weeks left).

The other notable player on the bubble here is Jeremy Langford. 37 scrimmage yards in spot duty against the Titans showed that he can still be an effective backup when given the opportunity. Though, after missing most of camp and the preseason due to an ankle injury, Cunningham is an excellent backup plan to the backup's backup (if that makes sense).

Of another note, many have pointed out that fullback Michael Burton has received relative significant playing time over the past few weeks. I'm of the opinion he hasn't performed well enough or made himself stand out more to secure a roster spot, though.

Wide Receivers

Kevin White, Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton, Joshua Bellamy, Deonte Thompson, Tanner Gentry

In the first major shake-up on this roster, Cameron Meredith's ACL injury places an interesting microscope on likely one active Bears receiver spot.

To me, White (for draft status and potential), Wright (for reliability), Wheaton (for contract and potential), Bellamy (for special teams and depth value), and Thompson (for special teams and depth value), are all locks to make the team.

That leaves essentially one slot to be decided between guys like Tanner Gentry, Victor Cruz, and Daniel Braverman. Cruz, quite frankly, looks like he's lost a step and even dropped a big third-down conversion right in his numbers after an excellent improvised move by Mitchell Trubisky against Tennessee. Braverman has essentially flashed almost nothing in game action. Then there's Gentry, who caught a 45-yard bomb of a touchdown from Trubisky ("all he does is catch touchdowns") and who could be a dynamic playmaker down field in the wings.

Ultimately, I think that last place goes to Gentry and that his role with the Bears gradually increases over the course of the 2017 season. Keep in mind, he's been doing some special teams work so that helps his status aplenty. If the Bears try to keep him on the practice squad, I don't believe it would be long before another team snatched Gentry away. Not a risk the team can afford.

Tight ends

Dion Sims, Adam Shaheen, Zach Miller, Daniel Brown

No major changes here from the original projection besides Miller's status. He's not going to be the primary tight end anymore usage-wise, and through the preseason has still proven to be an excellent safety valve for the Bears offense. He's definitely not on the roster bubble or in question anymore. This four horsemen tight end group has a lot of talent and versatility and Miller's place in experience among them, enhances that ability.

Offensive Line

Cody Whitehair, Josh Sitton, Kyle Long, Charles Leno Jr., Bobby Massie, Hroniss Grasu,Tom Compton, Jordan Morgan, Taylor Boggs

Nothing of much significant shift here either besides some guys such as Grasu solidifying themselves on the team in the absence of Long while he eases his way back in from injury. Grasu has shown that he can be an effective No. 2 center when called upon and I'm of the belief that if Long was healthy at the moment, Chicago would possess an interesting trade chip with the center.

Overall, this Bears' offensive line group is enhanced dramatically with a healthy Long but has still proven to be solid enough with at least average depth to hold together on the final roster.

Defensive Line

Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Jonathan Bullard, Jaye Howard, Mitch Unrein, Roy Robertson-Harris

Hicks might be one of the most underrated defensive assets in the NFL with his athleticism allowing him to play on the interior and on the edge as a defensive end. Before a certain player's breakout (cough), I don't think it's a stretch to say he's Chicago's best defensive player.

That's why it's all the more comforting to surround him with complimentary dominant talent such as Goldman, an ascending Bullard who could be on the way for his own big sophomore campaign, and solid depth in Howard, Unrein, and Robertson-Harris - who has flashed in the past couple of weeks. Some will have qualms about Unrein sticking around but he's a solid enough veteran that at least does his job when called upon. Overall, this is one of the best defensive line groups in the NFL and the Bears are quite fortunate to possess so much high-end talent and depth here.


Leonard Floyd, Willie Young, Lamarr Houston, Sam Acho

You'll note that I didn't include Pernell McPhee here. That's because we've received no indication that he's ready to go for the regular season opener a little over 10 days away. That's as clear of an indication to me of yet another PUP designation. As far as other names such as Dan Skuta, I've thought he's really struggled in the preseason to make plays in the open field and has been bullied head on against blockers.

Chicago's top edge four led by Floyd have at least shown enough responsibility to stay disciplined and make plays when called upon.


Jerrell Freeman, Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski, Christian Jones

If Jonathan Anderson wasn't dealing with a high ankle sprain, he would've made the final Bears roster easily based off of his results on the field. Such is the cold reality of injury. Aside from that, I'll make the bold prediction to say that Trevathan is ready and starting Week 1. I think his recovery is farther along than the Bears will let on and Chicago's top interior duo with Freeman will finally be reunited full-time. Call it a hunch.

As far as Kwiatkoski and Jones, both have shown considerable progress as depth linebackers and as players you can rely on for special teams. Jones' versatility at both linebacker positions gives the Bears some flexibility too. Kwiatkoski in particular also might eventually be ready for a full-time starting role down the line given his progress.


Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper, Cre'Von LeBlanc, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, Sherrick McManis

After early speculation of a potential cut, Fuller has played well enough to justify the Bears keeping him. Chicago needs the depth and talent at cornerback until further notice and Fuller has, at minimum, proven to be serviceable. We'll have to monitor Amukamara's health over the course of the season but he is unquestionably the team's best cornerback. McManis sticks around for special teams value (Pro Bowl alternate last year!) and offers the Bears' uncharacteristic depth.

This cornerback group isn't anything inspiring as far as game breakers but could prove to be enough playing behind a dominant Bears' front seven.


Quintin Demps, Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos, Deiondre' Hall

Safety probably has the largest glut of Bears players behind it. Guys like Harold Jones-Quartey, Deon Bush, and DeAndre Houston-Carson are all fighting for a spot. In that light, none of them have flashed enough on either special teams or defense to justify being kept as a fifth safety or to usurp any of the top four.

Jackson is already Chicago's second-best safety and may indeed have star potential while playing next to Demps. Amos can still be a decent backup in certain situations as well. And then there's Hall, who I think the Bears would prefer to let develop as an eventual replacement for Demps in the future. He's flashed enough in a positional transition from cornerback to at least be considered decent depth in the meantime.


Connor Barth, Pat O'Donnell, Jeff Overbaugh

Keep in mind that even with his knee injury, the Bears have retained the rights to long snapper Patrick Scales after no other team claimed him off waivers. His replacement signed this week, Overbaugh, will fill in for the 2017 season and take his spot on the active roster.

You might wonder why the Bears wouldn't offer Roberto Aguayo the starting kicker shot over Barth. To that I remind you that Barth hasn't missed since Chicago brought along the former Buccaneers kicker. If the Bears want to bet on the younger Aguayo's upside while he rebuilds his confidence, I do think he could stick on the practice squad without much threat of being claimed.

That's not of concern to the 2017 team though, which yes, has Barth as the best kicker available.

Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is an editor for Windy City Gridiron.

Check out our original 53-man predictions here...

And Lester’s re-do that he did right here...