2015 NFL Roster Projections:
QB/RB WR/TE OL/ST
QB Starter: Jay Cutler
Backups: Jimmy Clausen, David Fales*, and Shane Carden*
Sure, the Bears are stuck with an overpaid Jay Cutler for at least another year or two. But, what's the risk in riding with him and his cannon of an arm for a while? That's why I have 4 QBs making the roster (although there isn't any good alternative for Chitown right now). Fales was a 6th round pick in 2014 and Carden, an undrafted free agent, was projected to be a late 6th, early 7th round pick.
RB Starter: Matt Forte
Backups: Jacquizz Rodgers, Jeremy Langford*, and Ka'Deem Carey
Cut: Senorise Perry
Was Matt Forte's performance worth his exorbitant salary? No, but with a new offensive scheme in place and him entering his contract year, all of the motivation is there for him to bust the gates wide open and set a high market price. Rodgers was great in spot duty in Atlanta backing up Devonta Freeman and Steven Jackson. Langford and Carey, the team's last 2 4th rounders, will compete for time at 3rd RB.
WR Starters: Kevin White*, Alshon Jeffery, and Eddie Royal
Backup: Marc Mariani
Cuts: Marquess Wilson, Josh Bellamy
Beyond the starters, this group is as barren as it gets. Although 10 players saw time as a primary WR, only Jeffery and Brandon Marshall were above average (and Marshall was traded for that merit). 7th overall pick Kevin White and giant Alshon Jeffery will anchor the group behind flexible veteran Eddie Royal. Marc Mariani's return skills will prove valuable for the squad as its 4th WR.
TE Starter: Martellus Bennett
Backups: Bear Pascoe, Dante Rosario, Blake Annen, and Chris Pantale
Cut: Zach Miller
Bennett once again had a fantastic season, but the battle to be his backup depends on which of these journeymen vets claim the job. Rosario is likely the favorite with Pascoe a close second. Annen and Pantale will barely see any time, but are good bets to make the roster as younger alternatives.
LT: Jermon Bushrod
LG: Matt Slauson
C: Will Montgomery
RG: Kyle Long
RT: Tayo Fabuluje*
Backups: Charles Leno, Chad Hamilton*, and Hroniss Grasu*
Cuts: Michael Ola, Ryan Groy, Vladimir Ducasse, Jordan Mills
Outside of 2013 1st rounder Kyle Long, this group has been a real disappointment. This has already resulted in Will Montgomery taking over the center spot, although that's not the source of the problems. At RT, Jordan Mills clearly isn't the solution. One solution is to move Kyle Long to RT and start rookie Hroniss Grasu at RG.
K: Robbie Gould
P: Pat O'Donnell
LS: Thomas Gafford
The only change in this solid group is at LS, where former Chief Gafford takes over one year removed from stalwart Patrick Mannelly's retirement. Sophomore Pat O'Donnell will hold kicks for 11-year vet and fan favorite Gould.
DL LB CB/S
DT Starter: Eddie Goldman*
Backup: Will Sutton
Even though Sutton is the "veteran" since being drafted in the 3rd round last year, his performance was awful to say the least. Goldman, as a projected 1st rounder slipping to the 2nd, should start at NT.
DE Starters: Jay Ratliff and Ego Ferguson
Backups: Brandon Dunn and Jarvis Jenkins
Jay Ratliff put together an impressive rebound campaign he hasn't been a part of for years, which is more than the rest of this group can claim. Ferguson, a 2nd rounder last year, struggled out of the gate. Undrafted sophomore Brandon Dunn was good in very limited action and vet Jarvis Jenkins was very bad to say the least, but this shows the options available...
ILB Starters: Jon Bostic and Sam Acho
Cuts: Mason Foster, Christian Jones, DeDe Lattimore
Once again, this list of options was not very convincing. Acho was a solid performer in Arizona last season and should present a good option for Vic Fangio's defense while Jon Bostic gets yet ANOTHER chance to prove his draft position. The poor play of Foster in Tampa and the inexperience of the remaining three sophomores led to their demise.
OLB Starters: Pernell McPhee and Jared Allen
Backups: Shea McClellin, Lamarr Houston, and Wille Young
Cut: David Bass and Cornelius Washington
This is one group of veteran players I am actually commending the Bears for. THIS will be what brings tough, physical football back to Chitown, with big money going to McPhee this offseason after Allen, Houston, and Young earned it last offseason. McClellin's move to LB has worked so far and the Bears must maintain that position going forward. I would not be surprised to see Houston especially play a lot of DE in 2015.
CB Starters: Tim Jennings and Kyle Fuller
Backups: Alan Ball, Demontre Hurst, Terrance Mitchell*, Jacoby Glenn*, and Sherrick McManis
Cut: Al Louis-Jean
There is sneakily-talented depth at this position for the Bears post-Tillman, and it starts with Tim Jennings, the team's new secondary standard of excellence. Joined by Fuller, who had a lot of bumps and bruises last season, Alan Ball and projected 5th rounder Jacoby Glenn present nice cover options.
SS Starter: Antrel Rolle
FS Starter: Brock Vereen
Backups: Ryan Mundy, Anthony Jefferson*, Adrian Amos*
Other than Rolle, who has been around the block a few times, this group is very young and inexperienced. 2014 4th rounder Brock Vereen is expected to start and undrafted FA Anthony Jefferson and 2015 5th rounder Adrian Amos are expected to back them up. However, Mundy may easily sneak his way into playing time if one stumbles.