Written by: John Stocco
It’s here folks. It’s July and that means we’re getting closer to training camp. You can hear the excitement coming from the players whenever they talk to the media, and you can feel the excitement in the air when you walk the streets of Chicago. The Bears have unfinished business, and this summer it will be one of the most intense training camps the Bears will have in Bourbonnais. The Bears have one of the deepest teams in the NFL, and with having a deep roster, comes hard decisions, and competition. Let’s take a look inside the Bears depth chart and find the most intriguing position battles in Training Camp 2019.
1, Wide Receiver: Javon Wims vs. Emanuel Hall.
This is going to be a battle that I will have my eyes locked on this summer. People may think Wims is a sure bet to make the team, but I don’t think he’s untouchable. The Bears wide receiver room has Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel, fourth-round pick Riley Ridley, and free agent acquisitions Cordarrale Patterson and Marvin Hall. Javon Wims was a seventh-round pick out of Georgia who had a tough time finding the field last season as he only had 4 receptions for 32 yards. Emanuel Hall is an undrafted free agent out of Missouri, and Bears fans still can’t believe it. Some experts considered Hall a top 10 wide receiver prospect in a stacked receiver class, but fell out of the draft because of a series of minor injuries and being a one trick pony. That one trick can help him make the team. Hall ran a 4.39 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine. Hall not only shows it in tights, but he also shows that flash-like speed in pads as well. Hall gives the Bears an option as a deep threat where Mitch Trubisky struggled mightily last year by only completing 38% of his passes. Hall or Wims will be looked at as one of the deep threat options for this offense. With six receivers looking to make the team, along with three tight ends, Hall and Wims will have to fight their way to claim one of the last few roster spots on the Bears.
2, Slot Corner: Buster Skrine vs. Duke Shelley.
Buster Skrine was the player we all thought would take over for Bryce Callahan when he signed his three-year deal with the Chicago Bears. Then here comes Duke Shelley. The sixth-round pick out of Kansas State has impressed the Bears coaching staff throughout rookie camp and minicamp. Skrine is the starter at this moment, but watch for Shelley to make big plays this preseason as he did with the Wildcats. Shelley had 8 career interceptions in college with the ability to return one back to the house. Being able to defend the middle of the field has become a crucial part of the game. Elite offenses in the league attack the middle of the field. Chiefs, Chargers, Saints, Rams, these are offenses that beat you between the numbers, and it just so happens the Bears play all of those teams this season. The Bears paid Skrine to start, but Shelley has all the tools to walk into training camp and win the job.
3, Kicker: Eddy Pineiro vs. Elliot Fry
I feel like the kicking battle is why you’re all here reading this. It’s to the point now where I legitimately believe that there is a curse. Many people believe that if it wasn’t for Cody Parkey, the Bears would be in the Super Bowl, and who’s to tell them that’s not true? Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy, the players, the fans, the media, literally every single person that attends training camp will have their eyes glued to the kicking competition. The Chicago Bears are ready to reach Super Bowl heights, and we’re one piece away from completing the puzzle. That piece is a kicker, and that’s the missing piece that’s been haunting the Chicago Bears since 2015 when the Robbie Gould days came to an end. It makes you wonder, if Pineiro or Fry can’t win the competition, do the Bears bite the bullet and make a trade for Robbie Gould? As sad as that sounds it could be the one thing holding the Bears back from bringing the Super Bowl back to Chicago.