Chicago Bears Rookie Training Camp Progress Reports
The Bears have eight draft picks they are trying to develop in training camp. Of the eight, six are expected to make large contributions this year, so it's important they progress from week to week.
Along with the players drafted, there are two high-profile undrafted rookies on the roster. One looks to be a sure lock to make the team, while the other will likely fall short.
Here are the early progress reports of the 10 high-profile rookies on the roster going into the first preseason game.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller
It's that kind of passion that has Fuller firmly cemented into the top corner rotation. The first-round draft pick as been seeing time on the outside opposite veteran Charles Tillman. This has allowed Tim Jennings to move inside to nickel.
Fuller has also showed off his athleticism and playmaking ability. On the first day of training camp, Fuller intercepted two passes, including one against backup quarterback Jordan Palmer on a diving play.
Defensive Tackle Ego Ferguson
The Bears' second pick in the draft seems to be learning and progressing through camp. Ego Ferguson might have struggled to find the perfect balance but seems to be putting it together of late.
Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com reported Ferguson had trouble staying on his feet early on during individual drills, but his colleague Michael C. Wright said Ferguson had "solid leverage" just days later.
Like Will Sutton, reps in the preseason are going to be crucial for Ferguson. He has a real chance to take away playing time from Stephen Paea, who has never proven to sustain any consistency.
Defensive Tackle Will Sutton
Will Sutton has slimmed down nicely from his time at Arizona State and is now the backup 3-technique tackle behind Jeremiah Ratliff.
Known for his finesse pass-rushing skills, Sutton has shown an ability to power his way into the backfield in one-on-one drills, according to ESPN.com's Michael C. Wright.
Ratliff is approaching 33 years old and has dealt with multiple injuries in the past. This means Sutton will get a heavy dose of reps in the preseason and has a great chance to earn more playing time as a pass-rusher up the middle if he plays well.
Running Back Ka'Deem Carey
It's tough for a running back to really show what he can do in training camp. It's especially tough for a guy like Ka'Deem Carey because he's a backup and doesn't really possess any blazing speed or quickness that shows up in shorts.
It comes as no surprise Shaun Draughn and Michael Ford show up on the initial depth chart in front of Carey. They are veterans in this league who have been through at least one camp before.
Carey will get plenty of looks in the first preseason game and should shine bright on the stage. His game translates better to live action, and he should rise up the charts once teams reach full speed.
Free Safety Brock Vereen
One day Brock Vereen's running with the first team, and then Danny McCray takes his spot on a different day.
All that matters right now is Vereen is listed atop the depth chart heading into the first preseason game. This is his spot to lose with last year's incumbent starter Chris Conte still recovering from shoulder surgery.
Vereen shouldn't have to worry about McCray but should be looking over his shoulder when Conte comes back. It's important for Vereen to set the foundation early on so he puts some distance between him and Conte come Game 2 of the preseason.
Quarterback David Fales
It's been a smooth training camp for David Fales because he's not battling for a spot on this team. Fales is a lock to be the third quarterback on this team, so he can just sit back, relax and wait for his time in the preseason.
Most of the snaps have to go to starter Jay Cutler, who is still trying to get comfortable in year two of this offense. The other snaps are being filtered out to Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer, who are battling for the backup role.
With practice time being cut due to the new collective bargaining agreement rules, Fales will get the majority of his time to shine in the preseason. Until then, he should just be a sponge and soak up all he can from Cutler and the coaching staff.
Punter Pat O'Donnell
Pat O'Donnell already has helped spawn the phrase "Mega-Punt" after fans began chanting it after each booming punt from O'Donnell early on.
O'Donnell technically still has to beat out Tress Way, but it's highly unlikely the Bears will cut their sixth-round pick in favor of a player they already saw plenty of in last year's training camp.
Look for O'Donnell to wow the Soldier Field crowd with some booming punts during the humid, late-summer nights in the preseason. Listen to how many "Mega-Punt" chants you hear as you watch him do his work.
Offensive Tackle Charles Leno Jr.
The Bears must have a lot of trust in seventh-round pick Charles Leno Jr. because he's listed as Jermon Bushrod's backup at left tackle.
It's not a surprise the team has a lot of faith in a late-round pick on the offensive line. Jordan Mills was a fifth-round pick a season ago and went on to start all 16 games.
Given offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer's history in developing offensive linemen, Leno is not only in good hands but likely caught the eye of Kromer at some point, which led to the team selecting him.
He will get plenty of reps in the preseason and see time opposite veteran Eben Britton.
Running Back Jordan Lynch
It's an uphill climb for Jordan Lynch. He's trying to learn a new position at the highest level and has to jump three players just to make it on the final roster.
Lynch will see time in the preseason in the backfield and on special teams, but he's likely an early cut. He could be brought back on the practice squad, but even that seems like a long shot.
Linebacker Christian Jones
Undrafted linebacker Christian Jones demands your attention. He would've likely been drafted if he didn't fail a drug test at the scouting combine, and he's proving just that right now.
Jones has freakish athletic ability, which is perfect for special teams in the NFL. If he can play under control, then his upside will be tough for the Bears to pass up. He fits in well with the next generation of young linebackers the Bears are currently trying to develop.
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