By Saturday,September 1st at 4p.m., NFL teams must reduce their roster’s to 53 players. Then, it’s a flurry to sign guys to the practice squad and maybe the active roster. It was just a few years ago the Bears were able to sign a starting guard in Josh Sitton after being released by the Packers. You never know who will get cut on roster cutdown day and the Bears have plenty of cap space to sign someone if they feel like they need to. But aside from that part of September 1st, there are a lot of players who have one more shot on Thursday at Soldier Field to impress the coaching staff and management that they deserve a spot on the team. Let’s take a look at a few of the Bears players on the bubble and their chance to make the squad.
The Bears took a flyer in the seventh round in Wims out of Georgia. And throughout the preseason, he has shown flashes of his potential and putting together solid game tape. Standing at 6′ 3″, Wims has the body and athleticism to play in the NFL. He’s a raw athlete though and will need time to continue to develop. But both Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy like him a lot. Enough to keep him on the roster? After Saturday’s performance vs. Kansas City, I think it’s a no brainer to keep Wims.
The Bears will probably keep six wide receivers. Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, and Kevin White are locks. Josh Bellamy, Marlon Brown, Bennie Fowler III, Javon Wims are the ones battling for the final two spots. I think the Bears hold onto Bellamy for his contributions on special teams. Both Brown and Fowler III have made a minimal impact on offense and special teams. That leaves us with Wims who this past week had 114 receiving yards and a touchdown. His route running impressed many this past weekend and adding another 6 foot receiver to the mix is never a bad idea.
Wims has owned the opportunity and you cannot let him walk. His athleticism and game tape will lead someone snatching him off the Bears practice squad. This entire offseason has been about surrounding Mitch Trubisky with weapons on offense. Wims would continue that trend and Trubisky would get another deep ball threat in the passing game.
This may be the toughest prediction of them all. Hall was recently suspended one game for abusing the NFL’s substance policy, leading many to believe the Bears will no doubt let the third year veteran go. But some say otherwise, particularly Hall’s tape.
The former fourth round pick back in 2016 has played fairly well through three preseason games (missed the HOF game). His ability to tackle in the open field has been impressive. One part of Hall’s game that was never questioned is his tackling. But is it enough to crack the final roster? Hall will have another chance to win over the coaches on Thursday versus the Bills in Chicago.
It’s no secret one of the weakest positions on the roster is outside linebacker. While that could be a different story later in the season, the Bears do not have much behind Leonard Floyd. And to makes things worse, Floyd is expected to play the season opener in Green Bay with a club on his hand after suffering a broken finger. Not ideal.
Edebali is enterting his fifth season in the NFL. After his first three years in New Orleans, which he appeared in every game, Edebali has bounced around the league. The Bears are his fifth team he has signed with since leaving the Saints in 2016.
Coming into camp, the former Boston College standout chances of making the team were slim. But here is where he has the upper hand. Aaron Lynch has not played a single down in the preseason and is unlikely to play Thursday even if he is healthy. After injuring his hamstring the first day of camp, Lynch finally started to participate in individual drills last week. Are the coaches that confident in the former 49er? Lynch has had a subpar career and missing all that time in Bourbonnais really hurt his chances of making the team.
If Lynch makes the team, the coaches and management are really confident he is going to make an impact. But if Lynch finds himself packing his bags, I think Edebali could take his spot.
Kevin Toliver II
The former five star recruit didn’t live up to expectations at LSU. From injuries to suspensions to his attitude, Toliver’s draft stock was not as high as it could have been. But to sign him as an undrafted free agent was a low risk, high reward for Pace and Co.
Toliver was a standout the first few days in Bourbonnais. He was making plays on the ball and it started the conversation of the possibility of making the roster if his production kept up. A hamstring injury would delay his time on the practice and game field though.
On Saturday vs. KC though, the 22 year old failed to make a play on the ball. His chances of making the active roster may be gone but he is a prime candidate for the practice squad.
Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and Benny Cunningham are going to have roles in Green Bay to open the season. Could one more running back be added to the mix? Mizzell has been knocking on the door.
Mizzell has gotten a lot of playtime this preseason and he has taken advantage of it. Last season, the Bears held on to Mizzell for the entire season but was inactive more times than not. He has definitely shown more on tape than Ryan Nall and Knile Davis that could land him a locker at Halas Hall.