The Chicago Bears are a couple of weeks into training camp, and the roster is already starting to take shape, especially when it comes to the starting line-up.
The Bears will host the Dolphins for the first preseason game on Saturday, where players have a chance to make a case for a roster spot or starting job as competition continues.
Chicago will release their first unofficial depth chart ahead of their preseason game against Miami this week. But before then, here’s our projection for the Bears starting defensive and special teams lineup after two weeks of practice.
Akiem Hicks anchors a Bears defensive line looking to continue its dominance in 2021. And Hicks has already looks in midseason form during training camp practices.
The Bears’ defensive line is getting a boost with the return of Eddie Goldman, who hasn’t looked like he’s missed a step after opting out of the 2020 season. Goldman is currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but Matt Nagy isn’t worried.
Bilal Nichols will remain a starter on the Bears’ defensive line, this time kicking over to defensive end, where he’s looking to build off an impressive 2020 season. Given his experience at nose tackle, he’s solid depth behind Goldman.
Roquan Smith was one of the NFL’s best linebackers last season, despite not getting nearly enough recognition. Entering a contract year, the sky’s the limit for Smith, who’s already been making plays in camp.
Danny Trevathan returns as Smith’s running mate at inside linebacker, where he’s looking to improve following a bit of a down year. Trevathan saw his snaps decrease last season. If that happens again, there’s experience in Christian Jones and Alec Ogletree behind him.
No question who’s leading the charge at edge rusher with Khalil Mack looking to improve off a bit of a down year, for him. Last season, Mack was a recurring guest on the injury report. If he can stay healthy, the Bears will be better for it.
Robert Quinn was one of the biggest disappointments of last season, where he managed just two sacks all season. Quinn, who was limited to around 50% of defensive snaps last year, is looking to rebound.
With the release of cornerback Kyle Fuller, Jaylon Johnson is the new CB1 in town. Johnson is coming off an impressive rookie season. The focus for him this year: taking the football away and getting interceptions, something he failed to do as a rookie.
The battle at cornerback has been a competitive one. But where things currently stand, it sounds like it’ll be Kindle Vildor lining up opposite Johnson on the outside. But preseason is where things will really kick into gear.
New number, hopefully the same Eddie Jackson that made his way into the league back in 2017. Jackson recently was activated off the non-football injury list, where he dealt with a hamstring injury.
Jackson’s partner-in-crime, Tashaun Gipson, returns for his second year with the Bears, giving Chicago much-needed stability in the secondary. Gipson is currently sidelined with a groin injury, but he should be ready for the regular season.
No kicker competition this year as Cairo Santos, who signed a three-year extension this offseason, is the guy.
Again, no surprise at punter as Pat O’Donnell returns for his eighth year in Chicago.