As we continue down the list, we get to the heart of the roster and an area where I really see the Bears lacking. While there are a number of really good players on this list, I just don’t know how many the team can really rely upon. Injuries issues. Age. Low Ceilings.
But here they are, ranked with short bios. Once again, you’re welcome.
40. Mark Sanchez, QB. Maybe this is a bit high but just two years ago he completed 64% of his passes with an average of 7.8 yards per attempt. That’s pretty good. Now in his 30s, he has to be the veteran presence for Trubisky.
39. Tarik Cohen, RB/KR. Everyone who has seen the Bears practice over the offseason has noted how much Cohen has been used in team drills. I need to see him with the pads on before I’l be sold he can be an impact player but the Bears seem ready to throw a lot at him.
38. Deon Bush, S. Took Bush awhile to get on the field last year and he didn’t really do much when he did. Only got his hands on the ball once in six starts. That was a dropped interception in the end zone.
37. Jon Bullard, DL. No rookie was more disappointing last year. The word throughout camp was that Bullard was ready to make an impact, but once the season started it was clear that wasn’t true. He just didn’t know how to play the way the Bears wanted him too. Can he adjust? We’ll find out this year.
36. Eddie Jackson, S/PR. If not for a leg injury last year, Jackson could’ve been a first round pick. He’s a ball hawk who makes big plays once he gets his hands on the ball with five interceptions the past two years. My concern is that he isn’t the Vic Fangio prototype. Jackson is a natural center fielder. Fangio typically prefers to have his safeties be interchangeable.
35. Victor Cruz, WR
34. Kendall Wright, WR
Lumped these two together because their stories are basically the same. Two slot receivers who have been productive in the past, but struggled in recent years. I gave Wright the edge because he’s a bit younger and caught 69 percent of his targets last year whereas Cruz managed to haul in around 52 percent. In fact, Wright has never caught fewer than 60 percent of his targets. I’m not sure this camp battle matters that much since neither are among the team’s top three receivers and Cam Meredith is more than capable of playing in the slot.
(Jeff’s Note: I think Kendall Wright is going to be a big part of the Bears offense this season. I think Cruz is shot.)
33. Mitch Unrein, DL. Just does his job. Won’t provide much for pass rush, but can occasionally spring free and is stout against the run.
32. Adam Shaheen, TE. There’s a buzz around the huge rookie. Early word is he’s quick and has great hands. Could make an impact as a red zone target early and I expect him to see more snaps as the season progresses.
31. Jeremy Langford, RB. Kind of a forgotten man. As a rookie, he had a nine-game stretch in which he averaged 85 yards from scrimmage despite playing less than 60 percent of the snaps. He doesn’t break tackles and drops passes, but he has breakaway speed and is very effective in short yardage situations. He’s not Tony Dorsett but he’s a capable backup.
30. Bryce Callahan, CB. He’s been good when healthy, but I wonder if he’ll ever hold up at his size. A freak athlete who is aggressive and instinctive.
29. Eric Kush, C/G. A surprise last year after being cut by the Rams. Can play three positions at an adequate level and could be called on early if Kyle Long isn’t ready to go early in the season.
28. Mike Glennon, QB. My thoughts on Glennon are pretty well known. He has a good arm and did some good things early in his career, but he’s terribly inaccurate. Hasn’t completed 60 percent of his passes in any season in which he’s thrown more than 12 passes since his junior year at North Carolina State. He gets credit for not throwing interceptions, but that was only true his rookie year. Was intercepted on three percent of his passes in 2014 and threw 29 interceptions his junior and senior years at NC State. Is it possible he has improved over the years? Sure, but I need to see it. If he can protect the ball and make throws down the field, he can help the team. In reality, he should be a backup.
27. Nick Kwiatkoski, LB. Probably doesn’t get enough credit for the way he was able to play last year despite missing all of camp. Thrust into the lineup several times and certainly showed some limitations, but Fangio seems to be a big fan and there’s a lot to like. Athletic and tough player.
26. Marcus Cooper, CB. Has ball skills, but got burned a lot. He just might drive us crazy this year, but if he makes more big plays than he gives up, it’ll be worth it. Considered to be an ascending player. I have to think Eddy D. and Fangio know what they’re doing with this one.
25. Dion Sims, TE. His contract left a lot of people scratching their heads, but it’s based mostly on potential. A lot of people who followed the Dolphins closely have told me his blocking is incredibly overrated, but he’s a big body and a good athlete. If TE coach Frank Smith can get the most out of him, he could be a bargain.
24. Markus Wheaton, WR. A shoulder injury caused him to miss most of last year and become an afterthought. He caught 44 passes with an average of 17 yards per catch in 2015 and 53 passes in 2014 as part of a high-flying Pittsburgh attack. Ideally, he’d be the Bears third receiver and a deep threat who opens the rest of the field. He showed that ability at Pittsburgh, but if the Bears need him to be more than that, it could be trouble.
23. Adrian Amos, S. Really struggled at times last year after a strong rookie season. Should benefit playing next to a quality veteran in Quintin Demps, which will also allow him to play closer to the line of scrimmage – his strength. Doesn’t have ball skills, but has shown the ability to do pretty much everything else. Kind of reminds me of Tony Parrish.
(Jeff’s Note: Tony Parrish was a terrific player. Adrian Amos had one of the worst sophomore slumps in recent memory. I have no confidence that player who flashed as a rookie will be returning to the field.)
22. Charles Leno Jr., LT. An adequate left tackle, nothing more. Facing a make or break year, I’m interested to see how he does. I had him down for 10 bad runs, 5 sacks and 16 QB hits allowed last year. He also committed 6 penalties. The Bears can survive with Leno.
21. Mitch Trubisky, QB. With his build, mobility, accuracy and arm strength, I think he has the ability to play as a rookie. The playbook would have to be paired down, just as it does for every rookie quarterback, but the upside of what he can do — especially if a play breaks down — and the experience he’d gain by playing are worth it. That said, I don’t think he’s going to get the opportunity to compete for the starting job.
20. Kyle Fuller, CB. A forgotten man. I don’t think Fuller is going to make the team because I think Fangio hates him. It’s clear the front office sees something in him or he’d be elsewhere by now. Played well as a sophomore, but Fangio has issues with his attitude and some think he wasn’t in good enough shape in camp last year. A player to watch because if he can play like he did two years ago, he might be the best corner on the team.
19. Bobby Massie, RT. Struggled early last season, but was pretty good over the last 12 games or so. Really didn’t give up many negative plays, I blamed him for three sacks and five bad runs and he only committed three penalties last year. Had the fewest number of bad runs among the team’s regular starters.
18. Lamarr Houston, Edge. Hard to really know what to expect after two ACL tears in three years, but he’s been good when he’s played. Not as athletic or disciplined as the team would like, but does a good job setting the edge and is a solid pass rusher.
17. Kevin White, WR. We just don’t know what Kevin White is. He struggled early last season then started to come around when Brian Hoyer took over at QB. Was it just confidence issues compounded by a quarterback who was hard on receivers? The talent is clear, but this is year three and it’s time to see something.
16. Danny Trevathan, LB. Once again, we just don’t know about Trevathan going forward. He’s had numerous significant injuries including a torn patella tendon last year. My guess is that he won’t be ready when the season starts and if Kwiatkoski plays well, he might have a hard time getting back on the field.
15. Zach Miller, TE. Probably the team’s second best receiving threat behind Cam Meredith, but he’s never healthy. With younger options on the roster, I expect the Bears to look to trade Miller, but he’s considered a leader and could be a good influence for the young tight ends.
14. Jaye Howard, DL. This might be the team’s biggest free agent steal. Howard is a good player released a year into a lucrative contract because of an injury last year. He has been given a clean bill of health and should see plenty of snaps this year. A clear upgrade over what Fangio has had as his third down lineman since coming to the Bears.
13. Prince Amukamara, CB. Stop me if you’re heard this before, but Prince is a good player who has just not been able to stay healthy. Played well for the Jags last year on a pass defense that was pretty good. Was a good player for the Giants too as a former first-round pick, but neither team wanted to deal with his injury woes.
12. Quintin Demps, S. The team finally has a ball hawk in the secondary. While his six interceptions were a career high, Demps had four in both 2013 and 2014 so it wasn’t a complete fluke. At 32 years old, they hope this isn’t an Antrel Rolle situation again, but everyone knew Rolle was done when the team signed him, Demps still has his legs. For now, at least.
11. Willie Young, Edge. Despite battling a leg injury for the second half of the season, I charted Young with a team-leading 23.5 hurries to go with his team-high 7.5 sacks. He was also tied for third on the team with six QB hits and has always been considered a plus run defender. He’ll turn 32 early next season and doesn’t move quite as well as he used to, but he can still get the job done.