Projecting Bears 53-man roster after minicamp


The draft, mandatory minicamp and the majority of the free agency period are behind us, so Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace probably have a decent idea of what the Bears 53-man roster will look like come Week 1. But starting jobs aren’t won in shorts, in the middle of June, and as we saw from last week’s signings of Mike Pennel, Tyrone Wheatley Jr. and Jake Butt, the team could still add players to the roster before making cuts.

But it’s always fun trying to predict what the team’s 53-man roster will look like when the regular season rolls around, so without further ado, here’s our first crack at projecting who the Bears will trot out when they take on the Rams on Sunday Night Football.


Andy Dalton, Justin Fields, Nick Foles

This one’s easy since Nagy has been forthcoming about the QB depth chart. The only thing that could shake this room up is if another quarterback goes down around the league and Foles is traded away to be someone else’s veteran QB2.

Running backs

David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, Damien Williams, Khalil Herbert, Artavis Pierce

Ryan Nall got some play towards the end of last season when the majority of the team’s running backs were nursing injuries and the Cordarrelle Patterson experiment didn’t work as well as the team had hoped. But with Herbert coming in with the opportunity to make a special teams impact it could spell the end of Nall’s Bears career. Pierce could stick around due to his relationship with new running backs coach Michael Pitre.


Wide receivers

Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Marquise Goodwin, Damiere Byrd, Anthony Miller, Dazz Newsome

Dazz Newsome’s injury at the start of OTAs doesn’t help his chances to make the team, but if he makes a full recovery in time for Training Camp as expected he could still earn a roster spot. His addition, along with Goodwin and Byrd would make Riley Ridley and Javon Wims expendable, too. However the biggest question is whether Miller has proven to the team that he’s grown enough from his Wild Card ejection to remain a Bear.

Tight ends

Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet, Jake Butt, J.P. Holtz

Butt is an interesting addition if he can remain healthy. The former Broncos fifth-round draft pick has shown the ability to be a playmaker from his days at Michigan, but injuries, including two ACL tears, have limited him to only eight games over his four-year career. None of the Bears’ primary tight ends are known for their blocking prowess, which could leave the door open for Holtz to win a job too.

Offensive line

Teven Jenkins, Cody Whitehair, Sam Mustipher, James Daniels, Germain Ifedi, Elijah Wilkinson, Larry Borom, Alex Bars, Arlington Hambright

The bigger question isn’t who will fill out the back end of the Bears’ O-Line room, but will the starting lineup be able to gel, and gel quickly? Both Jenkins and Wilkinson have gotten work with the 1s at left tackle this season, so that will be a position to watch. In addition, can Mustipher pick up where he left off last season at center, and how will Daniels look returning from injury? Finally, can Ifedi hold off Borom for the full season?

Defensive line

Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Bilal Nichols, Angelo Blackson, Mario Edwards Jr., Khyris Tonga

The biggest question mark right now is whether or not Goldman returns to the team for Training Camp, and ultimately the 2021 season. The Bears have stated they’re confident he’ll be there, yet he didn’t report to mandatory minicamp and his absence wasn’t excused. If he doesn’t show, recent signing Pennel would likely make the team as a contingency plan.

Inside Linebackers

Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, Christian Jones, Joel Iyiegbuniwe

The signing of Jones could spell the end of Josh Woods’ career in Chicago. It’s telling that neither Woods nor Iyiegbuniwe drew the start against the Saints in the postseason. The team opted to promote Manti Te’o from the practice squad instead to replace Roquan Smith, who missed the game with an elbow injury. I’m giving Iggy the nod over Woods here due to his special teams prowess.

Outside Linebackers

Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, Jeremiah Attaochu, Trevis Gipson

Mack and Quinn will get the lion’s share of the snaps with Attaochu likely coming in the most to spell either of those two. It will be most interesting to see how much play Gipson gets in his second year, as the Bears viewed him as a project player when they selected him in the fifth round of the 2020 draft.



Jaylon Johnson, Desmond Trufant, Kindle Vildor, Duke Shelley, Thomas Graham

Vildor got some play towards the end of 2020 as Johnson nursed a shoulder injury and earned the praise of his coaches for his efforts. He also popped in minicamp and could make a push to earn a backup outside cornerback job. That in turn could make one of the veterans, like Artie Burns, expendable.


Eddie Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson

One of the most straight-forward positions to project. Jackson and Gipson have the starting jobs locked up and Bush and Houston-Carson will back them up while contributing on special teams.

Special Teams

Cairo Santos, Pat O’Donnell, Patrick Scales

The Bears are incredibly thankful there are no questions about the special teams unit this year.

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