Setting Realistic Training Camp Expectations for Each Chicago Bears Rookie
Rookies always seem to carry a cloud of expectations and hope. Some are able to live up to it, but what we expect out of them is often overzealous.
The Chicago Bears have a ton of rookies showing up to camp this year. When you factor in the group they drafted along with the ones they signed as free agents, the final number is 24.
We are going to take a look at all 24 rookies coming into camp and set realistic expectations from them during their time in Bourbonnais. Click ahead to get the scoop on each guy.
Tackle Cody Booth
The converted tight end is a long shot to make this roster. He has great size and the ability to move his feet but has only played one year at tackle in college.
His best opportunity in camp is to try to show coaches he has some long-term potential. If he does well in drills and plays well in the preseason, then a practice-squad spot may be open for him.
Guard James Dunbar
The hard-working player from TCU could surprise some people early on.
Dunbar fought hard to get back with TCU and become a starter after he was dismissed from the team for academic reasons. He's persistent and will show he will grind it out with anybody.
When you hear names of who's been working their tail off the most in camp, don't be surprised if Dunbar's name comes up. That likely won't transfer into a roster spot, but it will push the veterans in front of him to work harder.
Defensive Tackle Brandon Dunn
It's going to be tough for Dunn to get any quality reps in training camp. There are just too many veterans and rookies higher up on the totem pole who need the work before him.
Dunn has some talent, but he will likely be an early cut due to the lack of work.
Guard Ryan Groy
In college, Ryan Groy struggled against quicker defensive linemen, including fellow rookie teammate Will Sutton.
Groy is in camp strictly for depth and doesn't have a fighter's chance of making this roster. He just doesn't have the lateral quickness to stick around too long.
Linebacker Christian Jones
Expect Christian Jones to show up with a chip on his shoulder. The undrafted rookie will try to put the positive drug test from the combine behind him and prove he belongs.
Jones is freakishly athletic and has a real shot at making the team. He will see a ton of reps on special teams and get a lot of time at linebacker in the second half of preseason games.
Linebacker DeDe Lattimore
Like Christian Jones, DeDe Lattimore is a gifted athlete with a high motor. His awareness at linebacker is subpar, but he has great special teams skills.
Lattimore will spend a ton of time on the third phase. If he plays well, he could earn a practice-squad spot, but it's not likely he'll jump Jones and veterans in front of him.
Defensive Back Al Jean-Louis
It will be an uphill climb for Al Jean-Louis, who suffered a setback in college when he broke his foot.
The former Boston College defensive back will try to show the Bears he can play either the corner or free safety position if needed.
Defensive End Jamil Merrell
A leg injury sidelined Jamil Merrell for most of his 2013 season at Rutgers. He will look to prove to the Bears and other teams he's healthy and ready for the NFL.
The Bears are pretty stacked at defensive end, but if Merrell plays well, then he could get an early cut from Chicago so that he can latch on with a club lacking depth at the position.
Linebacker Conor O'Neill
Conor O'Neill is a smaller linebacker, but he has a ton of heart and a high motor.
Sadly for him, O'Neill will need a lot more than that to hit the field and make an impression. At this point he's just another body to bring into camp.
Tackle Michael Ola
This might be one of the few times you actually hear Michael Ola's name. He has a slim shot at even getting reps in training camp. He's likely a very early cut.
Defensive Tackle Lee Pegues
Lee Pegues is a pass-rusher from East Carolina. He's got some talent and a quick first step that will show up in drills, but he's going to struggle to find meaningful reps.
Running Back Senorise Perry
Senorise Perry is a dark-horse candidate to make the final roster. He's the kind of player who does a lot of things right and could get on the good side of the coaching staff early on.
Perry will get plenty of carries in camp and the preseason as the team tries to figure out who their third running back is. If Perry can excel in coverage on special teams, then it will be tough to cut him.
Cornerback Derricus Purdy
There's little chance Derricus Purdy can do anything in camp to make an impression, but he will still see reps with the third team.
Purdy will likely be rotated in as the weather heats up and the veterans get their time off.
Free Safety Marcus Trice
Marcus Trice will use training camp as an open audition for any team who wants him. The Bears have some competitive battles brewing at safety and it will be tough for Trice to get a fair shake with them.
The best bet or Trice is to move on to another team early, but he still must play well in every chance the Bears give him so he can latch on to another team.
Long Snapper Chad Rempel
Chad Rempel will try to use the CFL connection with head coach Marc Trestman as he battles it out in camp with Brandon Hartson.
One of these guys will replace the recently retired Patrick Mannelly, so expect to see a heavy dose of Rempel as the coaching staff looks long and hard before making a final decision.
Running Back Jordan Lynch
All eyes will be on the former Heisman finalist from Northern Illinois. Jordan Lynch will be tying to learn a new position and fight for a roster spot at the same time.
Expect Lynch to show some strong running moves but struggle in the little nuisances that make an NFL running back successful. He is one of the players who will fight for a spot on the practice squad.
Tackle Charles Leno Jr.
The Bears are going to take the time in training camp to see where seventh-round pick Charles Leno Jr. best fits.
He has experience at tackle and guard and could be the perfect reserve at both spots. The Bears will shuffle Leno Jr. around all through camp and the preseason as they get a feel for what best fits him.
Punter Pat O'Donnell
The Bears didn't draft a punter for him not to be the man right away. You will see a heavy dose of Pat O'Donnell as he gets acclimated to the NFL.
In-game experience will be more important for O'Donnell than training camp. Expect the Bears to kick on fourth and short as often as possible so that he gets plenty of shots in the preseason.
Running Back Ka'Deem Carey
You are going to see a hard-nosed running style and ability to get into the end zone early on from Ka'Deem Carey, but he will have his early struggles as well.
Carey will have to get used to the speed of defenders and learn the offensive packages. This will be on display as he tries to pick up the blitz from guys like Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic.
Quarterback David Fales
David Fales finds himself behind veterans Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer. This will force Fales to take limited reps with the second team and the majority of reps with the third-stringers.
Fales' best chance to show what he can do will come in preseason action. He will likely get the majority of garbage-time snaps knowing he's not going anywhere anytime soon. The Bears will continue to let Clausen and Palmer take reps with the first and second team to figure out the backup situation.
Defensive Tackle Ego Ferguson
From the get-go, Ego Ferguson will be in direct competition with Stephen Paea. This is Paea's last year under contract and the Bears would love nothing more than to see Ferguson take the starting role sooner than later.
Ferguson is the future, but the Bears will give him every chance to start early on. It will be up to him and his play to see how it all works out.
Free Safety Brock Vereen
Brock Vereen will find himself in the middle of training camp's most-watched battle. All eyes will be on him as he tries to fight off M.D. Jennings and Chris Conte for the team's starting free safety spot.
Vereen will get a ton of reps with the first team, but the situation is fluid. It will literally change from day to day depending on how he and the others play.
This is a battle that likely won't be decided until the end of the third preseason game.
Defensive Tackle Will Sutton
Will Sutton has trimmed down and will look to make an immediate impact when he shows up to training camp.
Sutton will rotate between the first and the second team early on and his reps will increase if he plays well. Veteran Jeremiah Ratliff will see a lot of time off, so this opens the door for Sutton to show what he can do.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller
When you get drafted in the first half of the first round, expect to get thrown into the fire right away if you are Kyle Fuller.
Fuller will likely move around from the outside corner spot to the nickel spot. The Bears want to play around with the alignments to see how he, Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman best fit together. Fuller will learn to grow up quickly, because he's certainly a starter out the gates.
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