The Bears’ first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins is right around the corner, and to prepare, the team released the first iteration of its depth chart. It’s important to note the Bears officially deem this an “unofficial” depth chart because this early into the offseason things are still fluid and will change, but it also gives us a glimpse into who’s impressed Matt Nagy and his coaches up to this point. Starters are highlighted in bold.
Andy Dalton, Justin Fields, Nick Foles
No surprises here. This has been the plan all along and the Bears are sticking to it.
“He could play tomorrow in a game and I would feel great about it. Our players would feel great about it.” - Matt Nagy on Andy Dalton
David Montgomery, Damien Williams, Khalil Herbert, Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce, C.J. Marable
Another group without surprises. The one name who should appear at some point is Tarik Cohen, who is still rehabbing after last season’s ACL injury. In the meantime, Williams will see plenty of action.
“I feel a lot looser, a lot shiftier… I definitely feel different and it feels good.” - David Montgomery
Allen Robinson, Chris Lacy, Justin Hardy, Dazz Newsome
Darnell Mooney, Damiere Byrd, Rodney Adams, Jon’Vea Johnson
Marquise Goodwin, Riley Ridley, Javon Wims, Jester Weah, Thomas Ives
We’ve long known that Robinson and Mooney would lock up the top-two wide receiver spots, but it’s an ongoing competition for the No. 3 job. Many different guys have flashed great plays and the wide receiver room is easily the deepest on the team. For now, Goodwin has the lead.
“I want 1000 yards. That's the top tier for every receiver. I just want all top of the charts of anything. It can be touchdowns, yards, catches, it doesn't matter. I want the top.” - Darnell Mooney
Cole Kmet, Jimmy Graham, Jesse James, J.P. Holtz, Jesper Horstead, Scooter Harrington
While not a huge shocker, Kmet winning the starting job over future Hall of Famer Graham is certainly noteworthy. Each guy will have a legitimate role in the offense, but this could mark the beginning of Kmet really taking over as a major receiving option in Nagy’s offense.
“Cole Kmet, I think you’re going to see his game step up speed-wise than where he was last year.” - Matt Nagy
RT: Lachavious Simmons, Tyrone Wheately, Jr.
RG: James Daniels, Alex Bars
C: Sam Mustipher, Dieter Eiselen, Adam Redmond
LG: Cody Whitehair, Arlington Hambright, Dareuan Parker
LT: Elijah Wilkinson, Teven Jenkins, Larry Borom, Badara Traore
A few things to note here. To start, Daniels moves to the right side after playing primarily at left guard in his three seasons with the Bears. Next, with Jenkins nursing a back injury since the start of camp, he opens up behind veteran Wilkinson at left tackle. Behind him, the Bears have Borom listed as a backup LT, not at RT, where he primarily played in college. Finally, we should note Germain Ifedi will likely slide into that starting RT role once he returns from his hip flexor injury.
“The offensive line does look a little different in certain areas. One of the things that we're trying to do right now is create as much competition as we can, really, at every position. I think you all see it.” - Matt Nagy
DT: Akiem Hicks, Angelo Blackson, LaCale London
NT: Khyiris Tonga, Mike Pennel
DE: Bilal Nichols, Mario Edwards, Jr., Daniel Archibong
Again, no surprises here. The only omission of note is Eddie Goldman as he remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
“Oh man, I’m glad I’m coaching him… a big, physical presence, not only just presence but his mindset. When he’s out there, I think everybody feels comfortable. It’s like having your big brother out there and you’re not worried about having anybody messing with you.” - Chris Rumph on Akiem Hicks
Khalil Mack, Trevis Gipson, James Vaughters, Charles Snowden
Robert Quinn, Jeremiah Attaochu, Ledarius Mack, Sam Kamara
Another position that didn’t have questions about the pecking order. The questions remain, how will this group increase their production after a disappointing 2020 campaign?
“I’ll be honest: Just a terrible year for me (last year), personally. No excuses, but last year is last year. You can’t change it. So I’ll leave that where it’s at and move on to 2021.” - Robert Quinn
Danny Trevathan, Christian Jones, Josh Woods, Caleb Johnson
Roquan Smith, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Alec Ogletree, Austin Calitro
The only thing worth noting here is that Ogletree has been buried as a third-stringer, despite his incredible string of interceptions at practice to start his Bears career. If he continues to play the way he has, he’ll climb the depth chart.
“The positive part of Roquan is… with today’s game spreading out and being so much more spread out formations, he’s a three-down backer that can hang with running backs in the pass game, but then you can also see he’s going to thump you too. His arrow is extremely high. It keeps going up.” - Matt Nagy
Jaylon Johnson, Artie Burns, Thomas Graham, Jr., Tre Roberson
Kindle Vildor, Desmond Trufant, Duke Shelley, Xavier Crawford, Dionte Ruffin
When talking about possible breakout candidates this season, the name on everyone’s lips has been Kindle Vildor. With Burns and Trufant both nursing injuries early in camp, Vildor was presented with an opportunity to build on his impressive end to the 2020 season, and he’s made the most of it.
“These guys, (Vildor) and Jaylon on the outside right now, are playing fast. It’s nice to have two young guys out there doing their thing.” - Matt Nagy
Eddie Jackson, Deon Bush, Marqui Christian, Jordan Lucas
Tashaun Gipson, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Teez Tabor, Michael Joseph
One more position group with a depth chart that is pretty much locked in. The big thing for the safeties will be how new defensive coordinator Sean Desai can scheme ways for the pair to make more big plays.
“If you wanna be good, like when those Bulls teams were good in the 90s, they had the same players playing over and over and they were communicating with each other and that helps. And for us, that’s what is going to help us in the back end. When Gip and BoJack are back there and they’re communicating and they’re communicating and handling all of the coverage assignments, that helps because now they know how each other plays.” - Sean Desai
KR: Khalil Herbert
PR: Damiere Byrd
The Bears will likely rotate a few guys in and out of these positions to see what various players bring to the table. Herbert and Byrd will get the first crack on Saturday.