Emma: Projecting The Bears' 53-Man Roster

August 29, 2018 - 2:05 pm
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(670 The Score) Thirty-two NFL front offices dread the moments of this weekend when 1,184 players are forced into uncertainty. 

Teams must cut their rosters from the 90-man allotment down to an active 53 by Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. CT. Some football decisions are more difficult than others, but the personal element in the room can be brutal.

"We're all humans, we're all people," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "The way I deal with it is pure honesty. I just try to tell them this is where I'm at, this is why you got cut."

Nagy will also be honest with the players released from the roster in what's next for their career. Some will land on active rosters around the league and others to the Bears' practice squad. A few will simply find the end of the road for their football dreams.

Most decisions have already been made ahead of teams' preseason finales, which for the Bears comes against the Bills at Soldier Field on Thursday evening. By now, after seven weeks of work this preseason, there are only final impressions that can be made. 

Let's take a look at how the Bears' active roster could look come Sunday.

Note: These are projections of what the Bears could do, not necessarily the decisions the writer would conduct as general manager.

Quarterback (3) -- Mitchell Trubisky, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray

The Bears should be set at quarterback, with Trubisky the starter and two experienced sounding boards in Daniel and Bray in the room. They didn't bring in competition for Bray during training camp given their comfort in this structure.

Running back (3) -- Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Benny Cunningham

For a second straight year, the Bears will feature a backfield that includes the workhorse in Howard, versatility in Cohen and value in third-down specialist Cunningham, who's also a key figure on special teams. Ryan Nall, who created some intrigue in camp, may be forced to the practice squad for the time being.

Fullback (1) -- Michael Burton

The new-age offense of Nagy will feature a passing attack that spreads the ball around plenty, but the Bears won't forget the importance of a strong ground game. Burton will make the roster as the lead blocker for Howard, Cohen and Cunningham.

Receiver (6) -- Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Kevin White, Javon Wims, Josh Bellamy

Credit to White and Wims, who have proved that they belong on the 53-man roster this preseason. The 2015 first-round pick in White and 2018 seventh-round pick in Wims both faced uncertainty, but has each shined. Robinson, Gabriel and Miller will serve as top targets, while Bellamy returns as a special teamer.

Tight end (4)  -- Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Dion Sims, Daniel Brown

The Bears will round out the tight end group with Burton manning the U position, Sims bringing skills as a blocker and Brown adds a pass catcher. The status of Shaheen's foot/ankle injury is still unknown, but Nagy believes he won't land on injured reserve.

Offensive line (8) -- Charles Leno, Eric Kush, Cody Whitehair, Kyle Long, Bobby Massie, James Daniels, Bradley Sowell, Rashaad Coward

One of the few position battles remaining at this point is at left guard, with competition between the veteran Kush and rookie Daniels for the starting spot. Leno, Whitehair, Long and Massie are set as starters, while Sowell and Coward add depth.

Defensive line (6) -- Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Jonathan Bullard, Roy Robertson-Harris, Bilal Nichols, John Jenkins

The tandem of Hicks and Goldman have held down the fort up front the last two years, but will there be more playmaking contributors this season? Robertson-Harris has shown greater potential this preseason.

Outside linebacker (5) -- Leonard Floyd, Aaron Lynch, Sam Acho, Isaiah Irving, Kylie Fitts

The roster spot of Lynch (hamstring) is in question ahead of this weekend. Nagy was honest with a recent assessment, pointing to Lynch's familiarities with Vic Fangio's schemes -- his advantage over young players like Irving and Fitts -- but also adding that Lynch needs to be available. It will come down to Lynch and veteran Kasim Edebali for a roster spot here.

Inside linebacker (5) -- Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski, Roquan Smith, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, John Timu

The good news is that Smith (hamstring) could be ready to play for the regular-season opener on Sept. 9, but he has a lot of work ahead to beat out Kwiatkoski for the starting spot. Timu gets a fifth spot at inside linebacker while the Bears acclimate their rookies in Smith and Iyiegbuniwe.

Cornerback (5) -- Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Bryce Callahan, Cre'Von LeBlanc, Sherrick McManis

This one seems pretty simple, with the two starters in Fuller and Amukamara, two steady nickels in LeBlanc and Callahan plus a special teams player in McManis. Marcus Cooper finds himself on the outside looking in.

Safety (4) -- Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos, Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson

The only complex detail at safety is what the Bears do with Houston-Carson, who suffered a fracture in his forearm two weeks ago. It won't necessitate a trip to injured reserve, Nagy said, but the Bears will need depth. That could create a place for Deiondre' Hall.

Special teams (3) -- Cody Parkey, Pat O'Donnell, Patrick Scales

The punting competition will go to the incumbent in O'Donnell, who edges Ryan Winslow to return for his fifth year with the Bears.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.