If there’s one thing that can be taken away from the Chicago Bears’ 2018 offseason, it’s that their offense should be miles ahead of where it was last year.
With new weapons at wide receiver and tight end, as well as the development of other young skill players, the Bears have surrounded second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the talent necessary for him to make a monumental leap in his sophomore season.
The starters on offense are pretty much set in stone, but there are a lot of question marks in terms of where the presumed backups stand on the depth chart. To shine some light on the more unsung players on the roster, we stole - I mean, drew inspiration from - an idea from Blogging the Boys, the Dallas Cowboys blog here at SB Nation. In this article, we will be looking at offensive players only, with the defensive edition coming later in the week.
That’s right. We’re starting things off with a boring, albeit realistic look at the quarterback position. Sorry for not being controversial enough.
The quarterback depth chart is perfect as it is. With only three signal-callers on the team, there aren’t any underrated young prospects who are looking to weasel their way onto the 53-man roster. Mitchell Trubisky is set as the starter and Chase Daniel is set as his primary backup, as it should be. Tyler Bray is unlikely to unseat Daniel for that No. 2 position, so why bother proposing it?
Instead of Taquan Mizzell: Ryan Nall
The Bears seem to be set at the first three running back spots on their depth chart. Jordan Howard is the starter, Tarik Cohen is the backup who will be used as a Swiss army knife on offense, and Benny Cunningham is the solid receiving backs who can block a bit. The only real question regarding their tail backs is whether or not a fourth back will be brought onto the 53-man roster.
Taquan Mizzell is a talented running back who belongs on an NFL team, but his fit with the Bears isn’t a great one. After all, the team already has a smaller, athletic scat back with receiving value in Cohen, and he fits that bill even better than Mizzell does. That said, there isn’t much that they can get out of the Virginia alumnus that they can’t get in a better way from the Human Joystick. Ryan Nall, a six-foot-two, 232-pound bruiser, has more upside in Chicago’s offense and could potentially serve as a bell cow back if Howard were to go down.
Reasons to love Nall: Nall is a powerful running back who can lower the boom on defenders. He has good ball-carrier vision and is patient enough to cut to the outside if there isn’t a hole up the middle, so he isn’t just a bull in a china shop. He also has value as a receiver - he has good hands and can run routes well - and has experience as an H-back tight end. Whether he’s positioned at running back, tight end or full back, his versatility could come in handy if he makes the team.
Instead of Josh Bellamy: Javon Wims
Josh Bellamy, the only man on Earth with literal feet for hands, admittedly gets a bit of a bad rap. Sure, he’s not a very good pass catcher, but he’s one of the team’s most reliable special teams players, and that alone should secure him a spot on the 53-man roster. Given the Bears’ new influx of talent at wide receiver, though, it’s best that they try to play him on offense as little as possible.
Javon Wims isn’t a finished product by any means, but he’s a better overall wide receiver than Bellamy and has upside to eventually take on a bigger role in the future. Jumping him to the No. 5 receiver spot should ensure that he doesn’t see a ton of playing time, but it would give him enough reps to adjust to the NFL and show some potential in flashes.
Reasons to love Wims: If you like circus catches, then you’ll like Wims’ game. At six-foot-three and 215 pounds, he has the size to physically overwhelm defensive backs. He has great straight-line speed for a play his size and is very good at high pointing the ball and adjusting his body to make grabs on deep balls.
Would you look at that? Another position with no complaints about the depth chart. How dandy.
Truth be told, the Bears have a very good situation at tight end, one that allows for a lot of play calling versatility. Trey Burton will likely see the most snaps of the bunch, with a chunk of them likely coming as a wide receiver or an H-back. Adam Shaheen will be the primary in-line tight end, with Dion Sims serving as the backup who will see time in three tight-end sets. Daniel Brown and Ben Braunecker both have a slight chance of making the team, but their depth chart positions are relatively interchangeable at this point.
Instead of Hroniss Grasu: Dejon Allen
Ryan Pace’s first draft as the general manager of the Bears wasn’t entirely a terrible one, but he ended up flopping on a couple of picks, one of which being his third-round pick, Hroniss Grasu.
Granted, Grasu was halted by an ACL injury in his second season. However, his play on the field - before and after the injury - has not been impressive by any means. The Bears have at least two better centers on the roster than him in Cody Whitehair and James Daniels, and Grasu’s lack of versatility doesn’t make him an intriguing depth option.
I covered Dejon Allen in a recent undrafted free agent breakdown, but his versatility and upside will give him some leverage when the Bears are picking their 53-man roster at the end of the preseason. It wouldn’t necessarily be shocking if they favor him over Grasu.
Reasons to love Allen: The All-Mountain West First-Team member has played at left tackle, both guard positions and center. Needless to say, he’s a jack-of-all-trades who could fill in at pretty much any offensive line spot. He’s also a very good athlete who fits Chicago’s zone blocking scheme very well.
Jacob Infante is a Chicago Bears writer at SB Nation’s Windy City Gridiron. He is also an NFL Draft writer at USA Today SMG’s Draft Wire. He can be reached through Twitter @jacobinfante24 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.