The Chicago Bears hit the practice field today for their first practice of the 2023 season.
Football is back and it feels good for us fans. In a few short weeks, we’ll be talking about preseason games and before we know it, it will be time to think about week one.
So why not kick off training camp with a look at where the final 53 might end up.
If you’ve been following Bill and Lester’s excellent Training Camp Battle series, then you’re familiar with the names and spots up for grabs over the next month.
If not, well go click that link and read it, I can wait.
Here is my stab at what the 53 will look like. I’m judging this based on which positions Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus liked to stack last year and then just looking over the players at those positions.
Here we go.
Quarterback (2): Justin Fields, PJ Walker
Take: They kept two QBs coming out of camp last year. Walker’s game is more similar to Fields’ and it seems like that should make this a natural fit.
Running back (4): Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson, D’Onta Foreman, Travis Homer
Take: They carried three backs out of camp last year but had two fullbacks. At the end of the season, they had four RBs and one FB. They seem to like this group and Trestan Ebner can land on the practice squad or elsewhere.
Fullback (1): Khari Blasingame
Wide receiver (7): DJ Moore, Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney, Tyler Scott, Equanamious St. Brown, Velus Jones Jr., Dante Pettis
Take: They carried seven out of camp last year and that room was abysmal. I think they like the vet presence of St. Brown for blocking and special teams, Jones and Pettis for returning and then Scott is a draft pick.
Tight ends (3): Cole Kmet, Robert Tonyan, Jake Tonges
Take:: Perhaps this is a little bold, Tonges was listed as a FB coming out of camp last year but ended the season bouncing between the practice squad and roster at TE. I think his versatility gives him an edge over Chase Allen.
Offensive line (9): Darnell Wright, Cody Whitehair, Lucas Patrick, Larry Borom, Braxton Jones, Teven Jenkins, Nate Davis, Dieter Eiselen, Ja’Tyre Carter
Take: Alex Leatherwood seems like he’s as good as gone. He played sparingly on an awful OL last year. Doug Kramer might get another practice squad spot this year.
Defensive line (8): Andrew Billings, Gervon Dexter, Trevis Gipson, Justin Jones, Zacch Pickens, DeMarcus Walker, Dominique Robinson, Rasheem Green
Take: This group is probably the most likely to change considering that it’s no secret they want to add a defensive end. That said, with the way the roster is currently constructed, I think these are the most likely to stick and I think the team feels only slightly better about it than they did a season ago.
Linebacker (6): Tremaine Edmunds, TJ Edwards, Jack Sanborn, Noah Sewell, Dylan Cole, DeMarquis Gates
Take: Not full of top flight depth, but Cole is a core special teamer, Sewell an intriguing rookie, Sanborn is coming off a good rookie campaign and Gates was around last season.
Cornerback (6): Kyler Gordon, Jaylon Johnson, Tyrique Stevenson, Josh Blackwell, Jaylon Jones, Kindle Vildor
Take: I know some fans can’t wait to show Vildor the door, but the truth is this is still a young group that doesn’t have a ton of proven depth. Not saying Vildor is a lock, but I am looking at the group and thinking he doesn’t seem so bad as the second option off the bench vs. being a starter.
Safety (4): Jaquan Brisker, Eddie Jackson, Elijah Hicks, Adrian Colbert
Take: Last season, on the final cut day, they had five but at the season’s end, four. I think they start with four, depending on health of course.
Specialists (3): Patrick Scales, Cairo Santos, Trenton Gill
Take: No surprises here.
It goes without saying that injuries and signings could change this. Overall though, I feel like this is relatively close to how the final thing could shake out.
Who do you see not making the roster? Will Kindle Vildor be back?