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Ridiculously too early 53-man roster projection

Who will be on the Bears’ roster come week one? Let’s take a stab at it.

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

With the NFL Draft in the books, the Chicago Bears roster is finally really coming into focus for the 2023 season. While there are still some positions that could use some veterans to bolster it, close to 100% of the 2023 contributors are on the current roster.

It may only be May, but it’s never too early to look ahead. So let’s take a look at who we think will be on the Chicago Bears active roster come week one in September.

Quarterbacks (2): Justin Fields, PJ Walker

Not sure how much time we need to spend on this. Nathan Peterman will be the camp arm and most likely their practice squad QB, but no need to spend more time here.

Running Backs (4): D’Onta Foreman, Roschon Johnson, Khalil Herbert, Travis Homer

I expect the Bears to pass more in 2023 but running the football is still going to be the bread and butter of this offense and I expect the Bears to keep four running backs (and a fullback) on this roster. I think if one of these players does not make the 53, it’ll be Foreman (due to what Homer uniquely brings to the room), but I don’t expect that to happen.

Fullback (1): Khari Blasingame

Luke Getsy likes a fullback. Blasingame is a pretty good one. He’ll stay on the roster to be utilized when necessary.

Tight Ends (3): Cole Kmet, Robert Tonyan, Chase Allen

The top two spots with this position group are set in stone. The third spot is up for grabs. I think Allen at this point grabs the final active spot due to his athleticism and blocking ability and, in my opinion, bigger upside than Jake Tonges. I think Tonges heads to the practice squad.

Wide Receiver (6): DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Tyler Scott, Equanimeous St. Brown, Velus Jones

The Bears have seven guys currently that could make the 53, I think Dante Pettis is the odd man out here. Pettis was signed to be the punt returner, but with what the Bears have added, I think they’ll find a returner (maybe Tyrique Stevenson) and feel comfortable enough letting Pettis walk so Velus Jones can keep his roster spot and hopefully develop.

Offensive Line (9): Braxton Jones, Darnell Wright, Nate Davis, Teven Jenkins, Cody Whitehair, Lucas Patrick, Larry Borom, Alex Leatherwood, Ja’Tyre Carter

I think the first six names are locks for the roster. Borom settles in as the swing tackle (he could use some more LT reps in preseason) and Leatherwood stays on the roster since he still has two more guaranteed years and has some positional flexibility. I’m giving a roster spot to Carter since Poles and company liked him enough to keep him on the 53 all last year, I expect to see some development with him this season.

Special Teams (3): Patrick Scales, Trenton Gill, Andre Szmyt

I’m going with a surprise here and giving the kicker spot to Szmyt over Santos. Obviously, the team lost some confidence in Santos this past season and being he’s a “Ryan Pace guy” I wouldn’t be surprised to see Poles pick his own kicker, and one that is cheaper and seven years younger.

Defensive Tackle (4): Andrew Billings, Justin Jones, Gervon Dexter, Zacch Pickens

I think the only question with this group is whether or not Travis Bell makes the 53-man roster. I think he lands on the practice squad this year with hopes of taking a big step forward in 2024.

Defensive End (5): Trevis Gipson, Dominique Robinson, DeMarcus Walker, Rasheem Green, Yannick Ngakoue

I can’t look at this unit and think that Ryan Poles thinks it’s a finished product. I think he waited on adding another edge because he didn’t know how the draft was going to fall to him. That edge player never really worked so they didn’t make a selection. I think adding Ngakoue as a pass rusher that can play mostly on passing downs and pin his ears back and come after the quarterback makes a lot of sense for a team that has to get better at rushing the passer.

Linebackers (6): Tremaine Edmunds, TJ Edwards, Jack Sanborn, Noah Sewell, Sterling Weatherford, Dylan Cole

I think the top four here are no brainers. Weatherford was a guy that the Bears snagged from the Colts last year which reportedly “upset” Chris Ballard. Cole is a guy who butters his bread on special teams (so does Weatherford). I think they keep two key special teams players in the roster in 2023.

Cornerbacks (7): Jaylon Johnson, Tyrique Stevenson, Kyler Gordon, Kindle Vildor, Josh Blackwell, Terell Smith, Jaylon Jones

I wanted this number to be at six, but, at this point, I just can’t decipher between Blackwell, Smith and Jones for the final two spots, so when looking at this secondary, there’s just too much talent here to cut one of these guys for an unknown at safety.

Safeties (3): Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker, DeAndre Houston-Carson

I’ll be honest, I don’t understand why DHC currently isn’t on this roster. He’s a core special teams player and has played quite well in the secondary the last couple of years. This team has no depth at the safety position and I think Elijah Hicks and Kendall Williamson are practice squad players. Hopefully, Poles brings back DHC and gets this unit some much-needed depth.