The Chicago Bears wrapped their offseason program with the conclusion of mandatory minicamp, but there are still plenty of questions lingering ahead of training camp next month.
We rolled out our post-minicamp 53-man roster projection heading into this six-week break, where there were some tough decisions in terms of which players were left out at certain positions.
Interesting to note: There is only one player on this list who played with Chicago last season, which speaks to the roster overhaul done by general manager Ryan Poles this offseason.
Here were the toughest cuts from our latest 53-man roster prediction, which include some veterans and undrafted rookies.
S Dane Cruikshank
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Cruikshank was one of Chicago’s earlier additions in free agency, where he was expected to serve as depth behind Eddie Jackson and his running mate, which turned out to be rookie Jaquan Brisker. The Bears re-signed DeAndre Houston-Carson and drafted Elijah Hicks in the seventh round. Considering Chicago is only likely to carry four safeties, Cruikshank could find himself the odd man out, where he gave a slight edge to Hicks for that last safety spot.
EDGE Charles Snowden
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Snowden, an undrafted free agent from last season, is one of the most intriguing prospects on the roster. When looking at the edge rushers on the roster, Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson, Al-Quadin Muhammad and fifth-round rookie Dominique Robinson all appear to be locks. Which brings that final defensive end spot down to Snowden and Sam Kamara. It’s certainly a position battle to monitor heading into training camp. But we’re giving a slight edge to Kamara with these projections.
OL Julien Davenport
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The Bears added some veteran depth along the offensive line in Davenport this offseason, and he was one of the most notable cuts in our projections. There are a couple of factors that go into Davenport just missing the cut, including the fact that Poles drafted four offensive linemen who have seen plenty of attention this offseason. The other factor is the fact that there’s depth at the tackle position with those who made our roster projections, including Larry Borom, Teven Jenkins and Braxton Jones. If Chicago opts to carry 10 offensive linemen, Davenport would make the cut.
CB Greg Stroman Jr.
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Another key veteran free-agent addition, Stroman is someone who just missed the cut at cornerback. While there aren’t any questions about who’s starting on the outside in Jaylon Johnson and Kyler Gordon, there are some roster spots up for grabs. But some of the other cornerbacks who made our roster projections also have some versatility on the outside and in the slot, including Thomas Graham Jr., who is battling Tavon Young for the nickel cornerback job. Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley also just made the cut in reserve roles.
DL Carson Taylor
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Taylor, an undrafted rookie free agent, is someone who’s emerging as a player to watch in training camp. He earned a contract with the Bears after a tryout at rookie minicamp. Since then, Taylor has been drawing rave reviews from media members who saw him during the offseason program. But he has the disadvantage of being in an overloaded edge rusher group, led by Quinn, Gipson and Muhammad. Taylor, along with Snowden, will be looking to battle for that projected fifth defensive end spot with Kamara. But, right now, he just misses the cut.
LB Noah Dawkins
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Dawkins is a veteran presence at linebacker that was expected to make the final roster. But in our latest projection, he just missed the cut in favor of undrafted rookie Jack Sanborn, who many were surprised went undrafted. Outside of Roquan Smith, there’s not a lot of proven commodities at the linebacker position. But the Bears are banking on Nicholas Morrow and Matt Adams to be contributors alongside Smith. Caleb Johnson proved himself as a special teams asset last season, which should help his cause in locking down a roster spot.
WR Dazz Newsome
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There was some buzz surrounding former sixth-round pick Newsome when he was drafted last year, but a broken collarbone set him behind and he wound up spending most of the season on the practice squad. Now, in an unproven wide receiver room, Newsome has a chance to win a spot on the roster. Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, Velus Jones Jr. and Equanimeous St. Brown appear to be the top four options. But there are a couple of key veterans in Tajae Sharpe and Dante Pettis that do stand in Newsome’s way, and the reason why he just missed the cut in our latest projections.
LB Joe Thomas
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Thomas is another veteran linebacker who just missed the cut in our latest projections. Thomas has served primarily as a depth option at linebacker during his seven-year career. Like Dawkins, Thomas suffered due to the youth movement on the roster, where guys like Sanborn and Johnson lock down those final roster spots behind Smith, Morrow and Adams.