Bears

Depth-charting where the Bears' needs still remain

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Depth-charting where the Bears' needs still remain

Three weeks into free agency and four weeks out from the NFL Draft in Chicago, Bears general manager Ryan Pace hasn’t emptied his wallet by any means.

The big free agent splashes are over and done with, and as Pace has continued fitting pieces for depth and special teams onto his roster, the only remaining impact moves will be made on that final weekend of April.

He currently has nine picks, including five of the first 127 selections.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

And therein will lie the keys to adding components to make the unofficial depth chart below more of a factor in the already-competitive NFC North.

There’s a great deal of optimism they’ve improved in some areas, but there’s obviously plenty of work left. You can make the argument that just about any position could use help when Roger Goodell puts them on the clock. You can decide for yourself where it’s needed most. 

OFFENSE

WR: Kevin White/Marquess Wilson/Josh Bellamy

TE: Zach Miller/Rob Housler

RT: Bobby Massie/Nick Becton

RG: Kyle Long/Ted Larsen

C: Hronnis Grasu/Ted Larsen/Manny Ramirez

LG: Matt Slauson/Manny Ramirez

LT: Charles Leno, Jr./Tayo Fabuluje

QB: Jay Cutler/David Fales/Matt Blanchard

RB: Jeremy Langford/Ka'Deem Carey/Jacquizz Rodgers/Senorise Perry

WR: Alshon Jeffery/Cam Meredith/Deonte Thompson

TE/FB : Khari Lee/Paul Lasike

WR: Eddie Royal/Marc Mariani

DEFENSE

DE: Mitch Unrein/Ego Ferguson/Cournelius Washington

NT: Eddie Goldman/Bruce Gaston/D'Anthony Smith/Terry Williams

DE: Akeim Hicks/Will Sutton/Greg Scruggs

OLB: Lamarr Houston/Willie Young

ILB: Danny Trevathan/Jonathan Anderson/Lamin Barrow

ILB: Jerrell Freeman/John Timu/Christian Jones

OLB: Pernell McPhee/Sam Acho

CB: Tracy Porter/Sherrick McManis

SS: Adrian Amos/Demontre Hurst

FS: Harold Jones-Quartey/Antrel Rolle/Chris Prosinski

CB: Kyle Fuller/Bryce Callahan

We’ve allowed the option on offense for either a two-tight end or three-wideout setup on the offensive chart. Bryce Callahan played most of the second half of last season as the nickel back. We didn’t go to the measures of listing every single player on the current roster.

So now your turn to predict who they’ll draft, and how it affects what’s above.

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith has more sheared sheep than tackles on his stat sheet as a pro football player.

Smith and several other Bears rookies participated in a hands-on community event at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois on Monday where he assisted farm staff with the sheep's grooming. Smith said it was a first for him despite growing up around animals. 

"It's like on the norm for me though, playing linebacker you're in the trenches," Smith said of the experience.

"Shaving a sheep, I never really envisioned myself doing something like that," Smith said via ChicagoBears.com. "I was around animals [growing up], but it was more so cows and goats here and there and dogs and cats. I've petted a sheep before, but never actually flipped one and shaved one."

Bears rookies got up close and personal with more than just sheep.

Smith was selected with the eighth overall pick in April's draft and will assume a starting role opposite Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker this season. Here's to hoping he can wrangle opposing ball-carriers like a sheep waiting to be sheared.

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

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USA Today Sports Images

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

Asking players about how the defense is “ahead” of the offense is a yearly right of passage during OTAs, sort of like how every baseball team has about half its players saying they’re in the best shape of their life during spring training. So that Vic Fangio’s defense is ahead of Matt Nagy’s offense right now isn’t surprising, and it's certainly not concerning. 

But Nagy is also working to install his offense right now during OTAs to build a foundation for training camp. So does the defense — the core of which is returning with plenty of experience in Fangio’s system — being ahead of the offense hurt those efforts?

“It’s actually good for us because we’re getting an experienced defense,” Nagy said. “My message to the team on the offensive side is just be patient and don’t get frustrated. They understand that they’re going to play a little bit faster than us right now. We’ll have some growing pains, but we’ll get back to square one in training camp.”

We’ll have a chance to hear from the Bears’ offensive players following Wednesday’s practice, but for now, the guys on Fangio’s defense have come away impressed with that Nagy’s offense can be. 

“The offense is a lot … just very tough,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “They’re moving well. They’re faster. They’re throwing a lot of different looks at us and that’s just Nagy’s offense. If I was a receiver I would love to play in this offense, just because you get to do so many different things and you get so many different plays. It just looks fun over there.”

“They’re moving together, and I like to see that,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “We’re not a bad defense. They’re practicing against us, so they’re getting better every day, and vice versa. It’s a daily grind. It’s going to be tough, but those guys, they got the right pieces. I like what I see out there. When somebody makes a play, they’re gone. Everybody can run over there. It’s the right fit for Mitch, it’s the right fit for the receivers, the running backs.”

Still, for all the praise above, the defense is “winning” more, at least as much as it can without the pads on. But the offense is still having some flashes, even as it collectively learns the terminology, concepts and formations used by Nagy. 

And that leads to a competitive atmosphere at Halas Hall, led by the Bears’ new head coach. 

“He’s an offensive coach and last year coach (John) Fox, I couldn’t really talk stuff to (him) because he’s a defensive coach and it’s like Nagy’s offense so if I get a pick or something, I mean, I like to talk stuff to him,” Amukamara said. “He’ll say something like ‘we’re coming at you 2-0.’ Stuff like that. That just brings out the competition and you always want that in your head coach.”