There are a lot of players at training camp for the Chicago Bears but only so many roster spots. Which names have garnered the most interest?
Jones athleticism harder and harder to miss on the field
Making any NFL roster is a huge endeavor for an undrafted free agent. The circumstances have to be right, he has to do well at the right time and he needs to have more than a little talent. Luckily for Christian Jones the talent part is well taken care of. The Florida State linebacker was regularly lauded as being one of the most athletically gifted in the entire 2014 draft class, so there was a little buzz in the air when the Bears managed to sign him. Thus far training camp hasn’t been a disappointment. Jones has looked every bit the part, flying around the field and never seeming out of his depth. He has the speed to play coverage and the instincts to rush the passer. It will be a major shock if he doesn’t make the roster.
Eric Weems and Chris Williams setting the pace at receiver
Head coach Marc Trestman has a lot to sort through at the wide receiver position. The top three spots appear set with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson but there are still three more to fill and several players keying on them. That means the best way to get one is by standing out on the field. Veteran Eric Weems, who took a pay cut to stay on the team has stepped it up over the first week, really working on his pass catching. Right alongside him is Chris Williams. The former star return man from the CFL is expected to fill that role with the Chicago Bears but really helped his cause by displayed his speed and quickness on offense.
Trevor Scott quietly emerging from deep field at defensive end
Defensive end has become a frothing torrent of bodies aiming to stick on the roster. Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young look like locks so that means there are two or three spots left at most with a host of notable names vying for them. Among them is Trevor Scott. Nobody really took much notice when the Bears signed him a few months ago. Why should they? Scott hasn’t registered a sack since 2012. Yet, like a race horse awaiting the final stretch the 29-year old has begun to pick up the pace. Staffers have lauded his array of pass rush moves, which could make him very valuable as a rotational rusher, something every team loves to have.
Matthew Mulligan and Dante Rosario bring different values
One of the under-the-radar roster battles being waged is to decide who will make up the depth chart behind tight end Martellus Bennett. Based on evaluations, the spots are wide open to whomever can seize the opportunity. Given the whispers coming out of camp, two names have separated from the pack. Matthew Mulligan has regularly shown his ability as a blocker both in the run and passing games. He also brings some limited receiving touch. His main competition is Dante Rosario who the Chicago Bears traded for last year and is more of a special teams ace. Much of how this battle plays out will depend on what the team feels they need more of when the season begins.
Adrian Wilson playing desperate
Most players on a team have different ways they can make a roster, be it through performance on offense or defense or bringing value on special team. Unfortunately, for somebody like safety Adrian Wilson, the options are limited. The 34-year old pretty much has only one way to make the Bears roster, and that is to win the starting strong safety job. With his history and at his age, it is very unlikely Wilson would be willing to play special teams, something required of a reserve player. In other words he brings little value to the roster if he’s not playing defense. That is why his first crack at playing with the 1st team defense in training has to go well.