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Early Projections for the Chicago Bears' Final 53-Man Roster

Ross ReadContributor IIIMay 6, 2013

Early Projections for the Chicago Bears' Final 53-Man Roster

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    The draft is in the books and the Chicago Bears' brass can now look at the roster and begin to shape up how things look going into training camp.

    There is a good mix of veterans and young players on the team who will all push each other for starting positions and roster spots.

    Flexibility with some of the defensive and offensive linemen gives the Bears a chance to keep an extra quarterback, linebacker and maybe even a safety. 

    Here is the early projection for how the 53-man roster will shape up for the Bears this season.

Quarterbacks

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    Jay Cutler

    Cutler enters his fifth season with the Bears and the final year of his contract. His play this season will determine whether he gets a new deal with the team.

     

    Josh McCown

    McCown did not see any game action last season but did play in three games the year before, starting the final two games of 2011. 

     

    Matt Blanchard

    Blanchard is an undrafted free agent from last season who did not see any game time. That's a trend that will likely continue this year.

Running Backs

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    Matt Forte

    Forte will look to return to form as a complete back after struggling in Mike Tice's offense last year. He had only six total touchdowns last season.

     

    Michael Bush

    Bush needs to stay healthy and spell Forte more. Last season he played in 13 games and had just 114 rushing attempts.

     

    Armando Allen

    Allen has been a contributor the last two seasons and continues to get better. He could have a breakout season from the third position.

Fullback

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    Evan Rodriguez

    When on the field last year, Rodriguez was a solid lead blocker. He did not get much of a chance in the passing game. He had only four receptions last year. That number should increase dramatically this season.

Wide Receivers

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    Brandon Marshall

    While Marshall set all kinds of franchise records last year, the four-time Pro Bowl player was targeted far too much. That needs to come down this year in order for the team to be successful.

     

    Alshon Jeffery

    Injuries and rookie growing pains hampered Jeffery last year. He needs to break out and be a legitimate No. 2 option. Doubling his 24-reception performance from last season is a start.

     

    Earl Bennett

    One game he's reliable, the next he's nowhere to be found. Bennett has to be the consistent option out of the slot. Staying healthy is a start and contributing on the field is key.

     

    Devin Hester

    As of now Hester will strictly be a return man. Should this last the whole season, that is undoubtedly a good thing.

     

    Eric Weems

    His contributions on special teams is the only reason Weems makes the roster.

     

    Joe Anderson

    Anderson will beat out current seventh-round pick Marquess Wilson due to his familiarity with the team and hard work ethic. 

Tight Ends

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    Martellus Bennett

    Last season Bennett had 55 receptions and five touchdowns with the Giants. Think of what that could have done for the Bears last year. Bennett now gets his chance to show Chicago what he can do.

     

    Steve Maneri

    Maneri comes from Kansas City primarily as a blocking tight end. Look for him to do more of the same for the Bears.

     

    Kyle Adams

    Adams and Maneri are similar players, showing the Bears have no offensive depth at the position past Bennett. Expect them to lean on Evan Rodriguez more.

Tackles

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    Jermon Bushrod

    Bushrod is the big free-agent signing from New Orleans. He is reunited with his former offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and will solidify the blindside of Jay Cutler. 

     

    J'Marcus Webb

    As of now Webb is the starter at right tackle. It will be interesting to see whether he can stay there the entire season.

     

    Jordan Mills

    Mills was drafted in the fifth round out of Louisiana Tech to provide some depth.

Guards

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    Kyle Long

    The first-round pick will start off at guard but could see some time at tackle if needed. His flexibility allows the Bears to run thin at tackle and go heavy on the guards.

     

    Gabe Carimi

    Carimi will get every chance possible to win the starting right guard position. Aaron Kromer will relish the opportunity to salvage Carmi's career.

     

    Matt Slauson

    The veteran Slauson comes from the Jets to provide stability, leadership and push Kyle Long. Should Long see time at tackle, then Slauson becomes the instant starter. If Carimi struggles then Slauson starts there.

     

    Eben Britton

    Britton comes from Jacksonville where he spent time at guard and tackle. He has started at both spots and gives the Bears much-needed depth.

     

    Edwin Williams

    Williams has spent the last three seasons in Chicago. His ability to play guard and center is a huge help.

Center

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    Roberto Garza

    Garza is going into his ninth and possibly last season in Chicago. Let's see if he has one more year left in him to anchor the line.

    Patrick Mannelly

    The long time long snapper and special teams captain returns for his 16th season.

Defensive Ends

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    Julius Peppers

    Peppers will look to register his third straight double-digit sack season with the Bears. He has been to the Pro Bowl every year since joining the team.

     

    Corey Wootton

    Wootton finally came on strong last year. He played in all 16 games and added seven sacks.

     

    Shea McClellin

    Last year's first-round pick has his feet wet in the NFL and needs to provide more than the 2.5 sacks he had last season.

     

    Cornelius Washington

    The Bears might have gotten a steal in the sixth round when they found Washington. He is a relentless pass-rusher who will come in with a chip on his shoulder.

     

    Turk McBride

    McBride is a veteran from the Saints who can give the Bears some flexibility on the inside or outside.

     

    Kyle Moore

    Moore comes from Buffalo where he had three sacks in seven starts last year.

Defensive Tackles

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    Henry Melton

    Melton is making a lot of money due to the franchise tag. He needs to show more consistency to prove he is worthy of a lucrative long-term deal.

     

    Stephen Paea

    Paea is a big run stuffer who finally showed he was worthy of the second-round pick used on him back in 2011.

     

    Nate Collins

    Collins played in nine games last year. He started strong but really tailed off. It would be nice to see more effort from him when put in the game.

Linebackers

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    Lance Briggs

    The Bears defense will lean on Briggs now more than ever with the departure of Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach.

     

    James Anderson

    Last season Anderson struggled in Carolina with injuries, but the season before he was a starter the full season with 98 solo tackles and five turnovers.

     

    D.J. Williams

    Williams is a crafty veteran who provides a solid temporary bridge at the middle linebacker spot.

     

    John Bostic

    Bostic is the second-round pick who will push D.J. Williams for that starting spot at middle linebacker.

     

    Khaseem Greene

    Greene was drafted in the fourth round to come in and learn all he can from Lance Briggs. The two share similar styles and passion for the game.

     

    Blake Costanzo

    Constanzo is a special teams guy who gives the third unit a ton of energy.

     

Cornerbacks

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    Charles Tillman

    For two years in a row now Tillman has made the Pro Bowl. Last year he had 10 forced fumbles and three interceptions.

     

    Tim Jennings

    Jennings went to his first Pro Bowl largely due to leading the league with nine interceptions.

     

    Kelvin Hayden

    Hayden took over for D.J. Moore at the nickel spot and looked comfortable there. He will assume the role again this year.

     

    Zach Bowman

    Bowman gives the team depth and another great special teams option.

     

    Isaiah Frey

    Frey was drafted in the sixth round last year and gave the Bears nothing in his first year. He should be more comfortable with one training camp under his belt. 

Safties

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    Chris Conte

    Conte started and played in 15 games last year and had two interceptions to go along with nine pass deflections.

     

    Major Wright

    Wright was a 16-game starter last year and had four interceptions.

     

    Tom Zbikowski

    Zbikowski comes to the Bears from the Colts to get a chance to play near home and contribute on special teams.

     

    Brandon Hardin

    Last year's third-round pick never got on the field after being place on injured reserve in the preseason. His past experience at cornerback allows him to flex over there as well if needed.

     

    Craig Steltz

    Steltz is a veteran who does a nice job filling in when needed and provides leadership on special teams.

Kicker/Punter

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    Robbie Gould

    Gould missed the last three games of the season last year with an injury.

     

    Adam Podlesh

    Podlesh is reunited with Joe DeCamillis, his former special teams coach in Jacksonville.

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