While technically still unofficial, it’s still interesting when the Chicago Bears reveal their first depth chart of a new year, and earlier today the Bears published their initial one of the 2021 season.
There were a few things that I thought stood out.
1) The Bears list their starting offense in 11 personnel, which means 1 running back, 1 tight end, and three wide receivers, and that means that Marquise Goodwin was able to capitalize on the buzz he built up in training camp and win the WR3 job... on paper at least. If I were a betting man I’d call some bookies and wager that the Bears will use a lot of different number three wide outs this season, and in doing so they’ll use Allen Robinson II out of the slot quite a bit this year. Listing 11 personnel also means that Cole Kmet gets the nod as their sole starting tight end.
2) It was reported yesterday that rookie Larry Borom will be working exclusively at left tackle backing up Jason Peters, with Elijah Wilkinson backing up on the right side, and that’s how the Bears list them in the depth chart. While I’m not excited at the possibility of seeing Borom lined up vs number ones, I do think keeping him in one spot right now is the best thing for his development.
3) The Bears list Cody Whitehair as their back up center, which probably makes sense considering he has the most experience there, and they probably trust his versatility moving inside in a pinch. Alex Bars is also the first interior o-lineman off the bench, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I think I need to check out some of his preseason tape from the last month.
4) It’s not a surprise based on the preseason, but seeing Kindle Vildor listed as a starting corner is worrisome.
5) The Bears used Marqui Christian at nickel some in the preseason, but they don’t have him grouped with the corners as he’s a third-string safety. And speaking of the nickelback position, you’d think in an era where the nickel plays well over 50% of the defensive snaps, and often runs out with the starters on the 1st play of the game, that he’d be listed on a depth chart.
6) While the depth chart only lists the first-string on most of the specialist roles, we learned in preseason that Cole Kmet is the back up long snapper.
7) We haven’t talked about Nsimba Webster much here around WCG, but this could prove to be a solid pick up. He has punt and kick return experience, but he’s also going to run down and cover kicks and punts too. Last year with the Rams he played in nearly 60% of their special teams snaps, he averaged 7.4 yards per punt return, 21.7 yards per kick return, and he led them with 12 total special teams tackles.
Here’s how the Bears revealed things for week one.
- WR - Darnell Mooney, Damiere Byrd
- TE - Cole Kmet, Jimmy Graham, Jesse James, J.P. Holtz, Jesper Horsted
- RT - Germain Ifedi, Elijah Wilkinson, Lachavious Simmons
- RG - James Daniels, Alex Bars
- C - Sam Mustipher, Cody Whitehair
- LG - Cody Whitehair, Alex Bars
- LT - Jason Peters, Larry Borom
- QB - Andy Dalton, Justin Fields, Nick Foles
- RB - David Montgomery, Damien Williams, Khalil Herbert
- WR - Allen Robinson II, Breshad Perriman
- WR - Marquise Goodwin, Nsimba Webster
- DT - Akiem Hicks, Angelo Blackson
- NT - Eddie Goldman, Khyiris Tonga
- DE - Bilal Nichols
- OLB - Khalil Mack, Trevis Gipson
- ILB - Alec Ogletree, Christian Jones, Caleb Johnson
- ILB - Roquan Smith, Joel Iyiegbuniwe
- OLB - Robert Quinn, Jeremiah Attaochu
- CB - Jaylon Johnson, Artie Burns, Xavier Crawford
- S - Tashaun Gipson Sr., DeAndre Houston-Carson
- S - Eddie Jackson, Deon Bush, Marqui Christian
- CB - Kindle Vildor, Duke Shelley
- P - Pat O’Donnell
- K - Cairo Santos
- LS - Patrick Scales
- H - Pat O’Donnell
- KR - Khalil Herbert, Nsimba Webster
- PR - Nsimba Webster, Damiere Byrd
Missing from this is defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. who is serving a 2-game suspension, and once he returns the Bears will need to make a roster move. My guess is he slides into the depth hart behind Nichols at defensive end.