The first official preseason depth chart is out for the Chicago Bears. Nothing is set in stone, but here are a few things are almost certain to change.
Shaun Draughn as the backup running back
With all due respect to Shaun Draughn, his being set as the primary backup to Matt Forte likely has more to do with him being the most experienced rather than the most qualified. Draughn is in his fourth season in the league, but is also playing on his third team. He’s only made through one full season and has a career average of 3.7 yards per carry. It is far more likely that 4th round rookie Ka’Deem Carey or even second-year man Michael Ford will emerge during the preseason to secure the backup job given their higher talent levels.
The co-starter label between D.J. Williams and Jon Bostic
Another interesting twist on the first depth chart was the middle linebacker position where veteran D.J. Williams and second-year man Jon Bostic were listed as co-starters. It is a rather blunt way of the Bears coaching staff saying that the ongoing race between the two for the full-time starting job remains too close to call. Game action figures to change all that. Williams remains the favorite given his experience but Bostic has gained a lot of ground during the off-season.
Eric Weems as the primary return man
A few diehards may have been taken aback when they saw Eric Weems penciled in as the kick and punt return man. However, upon deeper thought it makes perfect sense. With Devin Hester departed for Atlanta, Weems is now the only player on the roster with NFL return experience. In fact he made the Pro Bowl as one in 2010. However, based on undercurrents around the Chicago Bears it isn’t likely that Weems will keep that job. A lot of people believe free agent addition Chris Williams will take at least one of them, especially given his experience in Canada and the flashy explosion he’s displayed in camp.
Josh Morgan as the sixth wide receiver
There were very few surprises on the wide receiver depth chart. Every knew that Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson would make up the top three. The bigger shock came on the bottom half. Despite have the most actual receiving experience of the remaining players, veteran Josh Morgan finds himself tabbed as the sixth man in the lineup behind Josh Bellamy, a man with zero career catches. It’s an even bigger mystery since a number of reports out of training camp hinted that Morgan was among the most sure-handed targets on the field. If history indicates anything, coaches typically don’t let guys like that go.