It’s time to play Armchair GM and put together the Bears’ 53-man roster as if I were in charge of the team.
Quarterback (3): Kyle Orton, Rex Grossman, Caleb Hanie.
Orton is the starter and Grossman, believe it or not, is one of the most experienced and dependable backup quarterbacks in the league. I was skeptical at first, but Hanie has shown enough promise to warrant keeping on the active roster.
Running Back (3): Matt Forte, Kevin Jones, Adrian Peterson.
The first thing I would do is give Garrett Wolfe the boot. Very few scatbacks make it in this league. I think Warrick Dunn is the most prominent of such backs. I would not keep four backs with holes at some positions and depth at others. Forte and Jones will provide an excellent 1-2 punch provided that they stay healthy.
Fullbacks (2): Jason McKie, Lousaka Polite.
At the time of this entry, Polite has already been cut by the Bears, but I would have kept him on my roster. For a team that “runs the ball off the bus” and that has some holes on the offensive line, I would run more two-back sets and it’s good to have depth at this position. Plus, Polite is a solid special teams player.
Wide Receivers (5): Devin Hester, Marty Booker, Brandon Lloyd, Rashied Davis, Earl Bennett.
Again, for a team that “runs the ball off the bus” and one led by a conservative quarterback, you just don’t need to carry six wideouts. I think Hester’s speed along with Booker and Lloyd’s possession talent should give Orton some options. Davis is developing into a solid slot receiver. Bennett is a rookie who won’t contribute immediately but could be a great possession receiver and a replacement for Booker or Lloyd in the near future.
Tight Ends (3): Desmond Clark, Greg Olsen, Kellen Davis.
The strongest position on the roster by far, Clark and Olsen will be used often this year and could be among the leading receivers. Davis could develop into a nice red zone threat with his huge body and soft hands.
Offensive Linemen (9): John St. Clair, Josh Beekman, Olin Kreutz, Roberto Garza, John Tait, Terrence Metcalf, Chris Williams, Anthony Oakley, Kirk Barton.
For starters, Chester Adams was hurt last night and likely will be placed on injured reserve or reach an injury settlement. The Bears need depth at this position, but it may look like they’ll keep 9, or re-sign Fred Miller.
Defensive Linemen (8): Alex Brown, Adewale Ogunleye, Mark Anderson, Israel Idonije, Tommie Harris, Anthony Adams, Marcus Harrison, Matt Toeaina.
Second year player Dan Bazuin will get cut, which is a deep disappointment for a second round pick. I lambasted the pick during the draft last year and I ridiculed it after watching last year’s training camp, and stood firm the entire time that the Bears wasted a second round pick on an all-out bust. One of Jerry Angelo’s all-time worst draft picks, Cedric Benson included. Brown, Ogunleye, Anderson, and Harris are all locks. Idonije is a solid player at both end and tackle and I like what both Adams and Harrison bring to the table. Toeaina may not make the cut, but he’s a good backup.
Linebackers (7): Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Jamar Williams, Darrell McClover, Michael Okwo, Nick Roach.
The Bears need at least seven linebackers because several of these guys are the main cogs of the special teams coverage units. I like Williams, McClover, and Roach on special teams. Okwo may get a second chance because he’s a third round draft pick from a year ago, but he didn’t look very good all preseason. Joey LaRocque also hangs in the balance.
Cornerbacks (6): Charles Tillman, Nathan Vasher, Danieal Manning, Corey Graham, Trumaine McBride, Zackary Bowman.
The first five are keepers while Bowman is on the bubble. Bowman has plenty of upside, but he’s still young and raw. He’d have to be a contributor on special teams to stick around and I don’t recall seeing much of him this preseason.
Safeties (4): Mike Brown, Brandon McGowan, Kevin Payne, Craig Steltz.
Brown is set in stone while McGowan and Payne are battling for the starting strong safety spot. Steltz is a contributor on special teams who, with a little luck, could be thrust into duty this year on defense. The Bears need another safety for depth if Brown gets hurt, but I just don’t see Leonard Peters making the cut. After all, this is my hypothetical team and he doesn’t make my 53-man roster.
Specialists (3): Robbie Gould, Brad Maynard, Patrick Mannelly.
Three of the best in the business at what they do. You can’t ask for much more than these guys.
If my remedial math is correct, that’s 53 guys. These are the guys I have the most faith in and that can best contribute to this team. I will compare and contrast my 53-man roster with the actual active roster when it’s settled.