As the Bears move closer to training camp, we move closer to the top of the list. Most of the names here should be familiar, even though you may not remember they’re on the team. None, I don’t think, are guaranteed a roster spot.
Here they are, ranked with short bios. Once again, you’re welcome.
59. Jordan Morgan, OG. The Bears have big plans for Morgan but it’s going to take him time. He’s a powerful blocker that could replace Josh Sitton in 2018. He just isn’t ready yet.
58. Patrick Scales, LS. He’s no Patrick Mannelly but he’s fine.
(Jeff’s Note: Comparing long snappers to Pat Mannelly is like comparing a pop artist to Roy Lichtenstein. Just because you’re not the greatest ever, doesn’t mean you can’t be great.)
57. Michael Burton, FB. Considered to be a true blocking back and should be an upgrade over last year’s dead weight, Paul Lasike. But can they really justify keeping a fullback who hasn’t shown he can do anything but block?
56. Hroniss Grasu, C. There was some optimism about Grasu last year but he never appeared in a game after tearing his ACL in August. He’s probably better than he was as a rookie, but what does that mean? The team brought back Eric Kush, another center who can also play both guard spots, so they’re certainly not banking on the former third-round pick. If Kush plays as well as he did last year, I’m not sure Grasu has a spot on the roster.
(Jeff’s Note: I’d be surprised if Ryan Pace was willing to call it quits on Grasu’s career, barring another significant injury this summer. But if the Bears are actually considering moving Cody Whitehair from center in favor of Grasu, I’d rather they cut the Oregon product now.)
55. Dan Brown, TE. Showed some things as a pass catcher last year, catching 16 passes and a touchdown. An interesting guy to watch.
54. Roy Robertson-Harris, DL. Didn’t play a down last year but was a well-regarded UDFA. Put on a lot of weight and switched to defensive line, where he could push for playing time. This ranking is mostly a leap of faith.
53. Pat O’Donnell, P. (Pictured Above) He’s a punter. He has a leg. Two of them, in fact. One of them is adequate at kicking footballs long distances.
52. Johnthan Banks, CB. Signed off the street late last year and found himself playing a lot of snaps due to injury and ineffectiveness. A former second-round pick who has the tools but has been cut multiple times.
51. Tom Compton, OT. Probably the leader for the swing tackle role and that isn’t a good thing. The Bears starting tackles aren’t great and this would be a significant downgrade.
50. Cre’von LeBlanc, CB. I’ve been hard on him for a reason. His statistics look better because a couple of QBs threw passes right to him and a few receivers dropped touchdowns. But he was toast. That said, the word is he’s a hard worker and, if that’s true we could see enough improvement for him to challenge for a job as the slot corner.
49. Benny Cunningham, RB. I found out recently that this guy has quite a few fans. He’s kind of the same as Tarik Cohen. Bigger, but he doesn’t really use his size. The Rams didn’t play him much and, apparently, no NFL team was willing to guarantee him more than $80K. If he makes the roster it’s because the Bears have questions about Cohen and they’d then be keeping four running backs.
(Jeff’s Note: The Great Benny Cunningham Debate of 2017 is the Twitter morning I’ll never get back.)
48. Harold Jones-Quartey, S. A decade ago HJQ would be considered a really good safety. I’m just not confident he can hold up in the current NFL. He’s an explosive athlete but he isn’t fast and he seems to get lost in space. He’s a hard-hitter and a sound tackler but I’d like to see him put on 15 pounds and try playing linebacker.
47. Sam Acho, Edge. An intangible guy. He isn’t particularly good at anything, just solid at everything.
46. Connor Barth, K. I don’t hate Barth. I do hate that the Bears cut a better kicker to sign a guy they’re afraid to attempt 50-yard field goals with. This came a year after the Robbie made seven-of-nine from that distance. Barth misses the occasional easy one too. Robbie was a weapon. Barth is just a guy.
45. Sherrick McManis, ST. I wonder if this is the end of the line for the special teams stud. The Bears have tried him at cornerback and he failed miserably. Last year they tried him at safety and that apparently didn’t take either.
(Jeff’s Note: Unless I’m way off the path, McManis should be substantially higher in these rankings. They’re not the sexiest players on the roster but special teams aces are valued like rare pogs by NFL front offices. I’m talking super rare pogs. This note goes out to all of you who know/remember what pogs were.)
44. B.W. Webb, CB. Not a good corner (by any stretch of the imagination) but he should compete for playing time with the Bears. Can play inside or outside and has shown some ball skills. This is his fifth year and his fifth team but he’s a good athlete and I wonder if Eddy D can make something of him.
43. Josh Bellamy, ST. If he could catch, he’d be a great receiver. But he can’t and the Bears shouldn’t waste any time trying to see if he’s learned. What he is, however, is a great special teams player who seems to make a handful of impact plays in that area every season.
42. Chris Prosinski, S. About the only good thing I can say about Prosinski is that he doesn’t kill you when he’s on the field.
41. Ka’Deem Carey, RB. Tough runner who breaks tackles and brings energy to the offense. But he’s small and slow. He really limits the playbook when he’s in the game and can’t pass block to save his life. But he sure is fun to watch when he has the ball in his hands.