The Chicago Bears made a huge splash right before the 2018 season started when they traded two first-round picks for former Oakland Raiders star Khalil Mack. He immediately played at a high level and help the team reach the playoffs, going 12-4.

It wasn’t just Mack though. Mitchell Trubisky took a huge leap forward, earning a Pro Bowl nod and showed he is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league right now. On top of that, Tarik Cohen stepped up and the defensive side of the ball was one of the best last season from top to bottom.

Chicago was looked at to make a deep playoff run and even had a chance to make the Super Bowl but unfortunately, the postseason run ended too soon. Chicago was battling the Philadelphia Eagles in a tough Wild Card battle and all they needed was a field goal to seal the win. Then kicker Cody Parkey ended up hitting the post in the now-infamous “double-doink,”  ending the year in a heartbreaking 16-15 loss.

Fast forward to the offseason. The Bears let go of Parkey and brought in many kickers, keeping two for the preseason battle. Three year starting running back Jordan Howard was traded to the Eagles and replaced him with a cheaper option in Mike Davis. Outside of that, there were no big changes on the offensive side.

The defensive side also did not see a lot of changes. The only big change in the starting lineup was signing Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to replace Adrian Amos, who signed with the Green Bay Packers, at the strong safety spot.

Here is the position breakdown for the Bears roster, which right away looks familiar to how it was to last season.

Quarterbacks

Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images
  • Starters: Mitchell Trubisky
  • Backup: Chase Daniel
  • Preseason Cuts: Tyler Bray

Trubisky took a big step forward in his second season, throwing for 3,223 yards along with 24 touchdowns. Expectations are high for the former North Carolina Tar Heel heading into year three. Daniel is a solid veteran that played well in spot duty when Trubisky went down with an injury.

Running Backs

Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images
  • Starter: Tarik Cohen
  • Backups: David Montgomery, Mike Davis
  • Preseason Cuts: Ryan Nall, Kerrith Whyte Jr.

The Bears no longer have Jordan Howard in the backfield but they still have 2018 Pro Bowler Cohen. Davis signed with the team this offseason and will be a nice 1-2 punch with Cohen. Montgomery was a third-round selection and has a chance to be a factor in the offense. Overall, Chicago has a lot of dynamic running backs that will all be featured in the offense.

Wide Receivers

Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images
  • Starters: Allen Robinson II, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller
  • Backups: Cordarrelle Patterson, Riley Ridley, Javon Wims
  • Preseason Cuts: Tanner Gentry, Emanuel Hall, Marvin Hall, Thomas Ives, Taquan Mizzell Sr., Jordan Williams-Lambert

I expect Robinson II to bounce back nicely after an injury-riddled two seasons. We forget that he was one of the top receivers in the league, which included a 1,400 yard, 14 TD season in 2015. Gabriel is a solid starter while Miller has the chance to take the step forward as a solid weapon in the receiving core.

Patterson is also a factor in the running and the kick return game, so it’ll be interesting to see what Coach Nagy will do with the former Super Bowl Champion in the Bears offense. Ridley and Wims are rookies that have a chance to compete for playing time.

Tight Ends

Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports Images
  • Starter: Trey Burton
  • Backups: Adam Shaheen, Bradley Sowell, Dax Raymond
  • Preseason Cuts: Ben Braunecker, Ian Bunting, Jesper Horsted

The Bears don’t have star names at the tight end position, but it is a solid group. Burton is a consistent starter while Shaheen will look to improve in year two. Sowell, a former offensive tackle, will look to be used as an extra blocker in run/red zone formations. I have the undrafted Raymond making the roster due to his receiving abilities as a big-bodied tight end.

Offensive Line

Credit: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune
  • Starters: Charles Leno Jr., Cody Whitehair, James Daniels, Kyle Long, Bobby Massie
  • Backups: T.J. Clemmings, Ted Larsen, Alex Bars 
  • Preseason Cuts: Blake Blackmar, Rashaad Coward, Joe Lowery, Cornelius Lucas, Sam Mustipher, Marquez Tucker

The Bears have one of the best offensive lines in football and the lineman is the same from last season, outside of Massie. Leno Jr., Whitehair, Daniels, and Long all return as starters this season. Clemmings, Larsen, and Bars provide good depth.

Defensive Line

Credit: Jeff Haynes/Associated Press
  • Starters: Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Bilal Nichols
  • Backups: Roy Robertson-Harris, Abdullah Anderson, Jonathan Bullard
  • Preseason Cuts: Daryle Banfield, Jalen Dalton, Jonathan Harris, Nick Williams

Hicks is one of the more underrated defensive linemen in the NFL. Goldman is a solid playmaking nose tackle in the middle. Nichols, Robertson-Harris, and Bullard will all compete for the other starting defensive end spot.

Whoever doesn’t start, they’ll still get plenty of snaps in the rotation.

Linebackers

Credit: Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, Leonard Floyd
  • Backups: Aaron Lynch, Nick Kwiatkoski, Isaiah Irving, Kylie Fitts, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Kevin Pierre-Louis
  • Preseason Cuts: Matt Betts, Chuck Harris, Jameer Thurman, James Vaughters, Josh Woods

Seriously, why did the Oakland Raiders trade Mack? Mack is one of the top defenders in the NFL and he is the star in Chicago’s defense. Floyd starts opposite of Mack, forming one of the best outside linebacking duos in the NFL.

Smith and Trevathan are solid starters in the middle linebacker position. Lynch and Kwiatkoski will be the main backups while Irving, Fitts, Iyeigbuniwe, and Pierre-Louis will provide more depth and help on Special Teams. Overall, the Chicago Bears linebacking core is SCARY.

Cornerbacks

Credit: Leon Halip/Getty Images
  • Starters: Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara
  • Backups: Buster Skrine, Sherrick McManis, Kevin Toliver II, Duke Shelley
  • Preseason Cuts: Clifton Duck, Stephen Denmark, John Franklin III, Michael Joseph, Jonathan Mincy, Josh Simmons

Fuller took a big leap forward in 2018, leading to a Pro Bowl nod and First-team All-Pro selection. He’ll be the lead corner while Amukamara is a nice veteran to start opposite of Fuller. Skrine will likely be the nickel in certain packages.

McMannis, Toliver, and Shelley provide nice depth and could also be factored in the Special Teams side of the ball.

Safeties

Credit: Patrick Gorski/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Eddie Jackson, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
  • Backups: Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson
  • Preseason Cuts: Doyin Jibowu

Jackson is on the rise as one of the best safeties in the NFL. Clinton-Dix split time between the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins before signing with Chicago to replace Adrian Amos. Bush and Houston-Carson are experienced backups that provide depth for the starters. A solid position group on the defensive side once again.

Specialists

Credit: Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports
  • Kicker: Eddy Pineiro
  • Punter: Pat O’Donnell
  • Long Snapper: Patrick Scales
  • Preseason Cuts: Elliott Fry, John Wirtel

O’Donnell and Scales are one of the best at punter and long snapper respectively. The kicking situation like mentioned earlier will be a big competition here between Pinerio and Fry. I give the nod to Pinerio but it could change once the preseason games go underway.

If Parkey made the kick, I believe the Chicago Bears had a chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. With the starters pretty much remaining the same outside of a few new additions, this is an overall solid squad at every position group.

Trubisky will improve in year three under Nagy, Cohen and Davis is a solid backfield combo, and the offensive line is one of the best in the league. The receiving/tight end groups may not have any household names but they did flourish under Nagy and I expect that to be the same.

The defensive side is the strength here, particularly in the linebacking core. Mack, Smith, Floyd, Fuller, and Jackson are just a few names you’ll see making plays. This defense is excellent and will no doubt be the reason why Chicago could make a huge playoff push.

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