Bears Players Who Need Impressive Camp to Avoid Being Cut

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2021

Bears Players Who Need Impressive Camp to Avoid Being Cut

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    For some, NFL training camp is about working to get in shape and ready for the season. For others, it's about survival. 

    While there are always some cap casualties during free agency, the harsh reality is that no one is done paring their roster down yet. That includes the Chicago Bears who definitely have some areas on their roster that will require pruning once a hierarchy is established. 

    Players such as Allen Robinson II, David Montgomery and Khalil Mack are obviously going to be prepping for the long season, but there are plenty who are auditioning for their jobs. 

    From aging veterans who could save the team some cap to unproven prospects who need to prove themselves fast, here's a look at three players who should be feeling the pressure. 

WR Anthony Miller

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    None of general manager Ryan Pace's moves this offseason should have receiver Anthony Miller feeling good about his standing with the organization. 

    The team spent draft capital on Dazz Newsome, signed Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd while retaining Allen Robinson II on the franchise tag. In short, they did a lot to ensure they don't have to play Miller if they don't want to. 

    The 26-year-old's name has come up in trade rumors more than once. His relationship with the franchise has been tenuous at best and his role dwindled last season. He saw fewer than three targets in each of the team's final five games last year. 

    While he's been productive at times in his role in the slot, he has not lived up to the promise he showed in his seven-touchdown rookie campaign. 

    With the new veteran options available and Newsome fighting to show he can play early, the Bears might just give up on finding a trade partner and cut their losses with Miller. 

RB Ryan Nall

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    There was a brief moment in time last season when Ryan Nall was a hot fantasy football waiver-wire pickup for desperate fantasy managers in need of a running back. It was about as fun for those managers as it was for the actual Bears. 

    With Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery out, the Bears were forced to turn to Cordarrelle Patterson and Nall as the functioning running backs. It was a strategy that didn't really pan out. 

    This year, the Bears have taken measures to protect against that situation. They signed former Chiefs running back Damien Williams and drafted Khalil Herbert out of Virginia Tech. Both are more dynamic running options than Nall. 

    Special teams could be the 26-year-old's saving grace. He was on the field for 65 percent of the team's special teams snaps in 2020. 

    But with Montgomery, Cohen, Williams and Herbert all on the roster, it's going to be hard to justify a fifth running back when the roster has to get cut to 53. 

CB Tre Roberson

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    Tre Roberson was an interesting free-agent signing for the Bears in 2020. After accruing 10 interceptions in two seasons in the Canadian league, he was set to get a second crack in the NFL. He was originally an undrafted free agent for the Minnesota Vikings

    A Bears cornerback room that was light on options last season could have used him. 

    Unfortunately, the 28-year-old suffered a broken foot that cost him his season. He'll get the opportunity to compete for a roster spot in camp, but there will be plenty of players for the Bears to choose from. 

    Jaylon Johnson's spot is secured, but the pecking order among Desmond Trufant, Artie Burns, Duke Shelley, Thomas Graham and Roberson will need to be sorted out. 

    Roberson is interesting from a developmental standpoint but so are some of the others on the roster. He's a good deal older than even Burns (26), who has started in the NFL. He'll have to make a splash right away and continue to impress if he wants to have an NFL job in August.