The time is almost upon teams around the NFL to make their final roster adjustments, and the Chicago Bears will have some tough decisions to make. That being said, let’s take a look at some guys who have a chance at cracking the 53-man roster.
Chicago Bears rookies to watch for
Christian Jones, LB — Florida State University
Linebacker is a good position for the Bears to start grooming replacements for an aging Lance Briggs and other current linebackers who do not materialize into what the Bears thought, and Jones fits the bill for the title of Linebacker of the Future.
While he did fail his drug test at the NFL combine, do not expect that to be a distraction. He has a chip on his shoulder from being passed over in the draft when many expected him to be drafted in either the second or third round, and he will use this as motivation moving forward. Jones is the versatile type of player the Bears want at this position, and he certainly fits the bill of Linebacker of the Future if the Bears indeed choose to add him.
While at Florida State, he played all three linebacker positions and even lined up at defensive line last year. In 2011 at strong side line backer, he had 56 tackles along with three sacks. In 2012 at weak side linebacker, he led the team with 95 tackles at weak side linebacker. Last year, he played middle linebacker for two games before returning to strong side linebacker for the final 10 and had 56 tackles with two sacks.
In an ACC conference that has seen an increase in competition, those numbers are quite impressive. In his career, he started almost every game, so the Bears would be getting durability at a position that certainly requires it.
Senorise Perry, RB — University of Louisville
Ka’Deem Carey looks to be a lock behind Matt Forte as his backup, but Perry has the tools to leapfrog Michael Ford and take over the third spot on the depth chart. Perry has breakaway speed (4.35 40-yard dash) and great blocking ability, which the Bears continue to look for to protect their crown jewel at quarterback. The Louisville product can give the team another downfield threat who has the potential to make the big play. If he wants to make the team, he will have to show off that ability in camp.
DeDe Lattimore, LB- University of South Florida
It is always good to stack the linebacker position with as much toughness and run-defending ability as possible, and Lattimore provides both of those attributes. The Bears had the worst run defense in the league last year, so Lattimore will have to show off his great instincts to read the gaps correctly and stuff the run. He is quick to get to the quarterback and blow up the play at the line of scrimmage, no matter who has the ball. He can run with the best of them, as his closing speed to the ball is something that makes him stand out.
Like Jones, the Bears would be getting another durable linebacker — aside from his redshirt season in 2009, Lattimore started every game at linebacker. He forced four fumbles last season which led the AAC and put him at 10th place in the entire FBS, so he will have to display the big hit ability in camp that he showed in college if he wants to make the team.