4 Offensive Players to Watch in Fridays Game
The Chicago Bears are in a unique position this pre-season. Their starters were in place after OTA's, and they only have about 7 of the 53 roster spots up for grabs. In 2015 the Bears didn't have enough qualified players on the 53 man roster and in 2019 its the opposite. So much depth is going to force the Bears to part with a few quality players, that will make plays somewhere else in 2019. Right now, Ryan Pace is running a fine-tooth comb through the back half of this roster. This article highlights 4 offensive standouts from the Carolina game, to pay attention to on Friday.
Alex Bars (G #64)
Everything starts upfront, so it's only fair to start with Bars. He went undrafted, which is still baffling to me. He had two season-ending injuries in college, but when he was on the field Bars, was a consistent player. After one preseason game, it is pretty clear that Bars should make this team. He is 6'6" 315, and he uses every bit of his size. Bars is a powerful guy that was effectively clearing holes against Carolina. He wins his one on one match-ups off the line. He also moves well enough to combo block and gets to the second level, but he needs to work on consistency when he gets there. He seems to be off-balance coming off of chip blocks. Some of the time he is easily shed by the linebacker, some of the time he misses the assignment altogether. He's looked solid in his pass sets, which is the opposite of what his draft profile said. There were a few times I noticed he drops his head when facing a power rush, which won't fair well against starting-caliber talent. Like every player, Bars needs to work on a few things, but he's on the right track to make the 53 man roster.
Marvin Hall (WR #13)
The Bears acquired Marvin Hall this offseason. He came into the league in 2016 as a UDFA, and after bouncing around a little, he found his place in Atlanta. Hall's numbers don't look good on paper, but he also was in a stacked receiver room in Atlanta and didn't get many opportunities. After Emanuel Hall got cut, it gave Marvin a little more breathing room. There is one less speedster to compete with now. It was clear from the first day of training camp, Marvin was the superior hall brother, but Emanuel got a lot more of the hype heading into it. Marvin Hall blows past defenders and outran Tyler Bray's arm in the Carolina game. This clip will give you a glimpse of his speed.
Hall is another player that will take the top off of the defense, and we know how much Nagy likes that. He will continually make it difficult for the Bears to part ways with him.
Kerrith Whyte (RB #38)
With Whyte, it's not a matter of making the team. It's more like, how far will he climb up the depth chart? This 7th round pick from FAU looked impressive against Carolina. Whyte has that "contact balance," you hear so much about with David Montgomery. In my opinion, he has already passed Mike Davis on the depth chart. It would be nice to see Whyte get more reps with the first team and evaluate him against a stout defense. He is 5'10" 200 lbs and runs a 4.37. He can run between the tackles, stretch the play outside, and is a very natural pass catcher. The clip below shows Whyte breaking a tackle at the line of scrimmage and taking the ball down the sideline for 23 yards.
His speed is only one of his many tools. Some people are speculating Whyte will take Mizzell's role from last year, but he will get utilized more than you think. Whyte is another piece of the puzzle, and I will not be surprised if you see him heavily involved with two-back sets. There's no K in "Run DMC," so the Bears social media will have to figure something out.
Ian Bunting (TE #49)
The Bears needed some depth at tight end, so they signed multiple UDFA's trying to solve the problem. Daxx Raymond was the biggest name out of the UDFA signings, and he is supposed to be a shoo-in to make the team. While Raymond has flashed in camp, Bunting has been making a strong case himself. Don't get me wrong he is a work in progress. Bunting is a bad run blocker, to be frank. The fumbles and penalties are deterring, but Bunting is great after the catch. He drags DB's a few yards before he hits the turf. Bunting had the most targets of all the tight ends, so the Bears are looking closely at him. He is a possible candidate for the practice squad, but who wouldn't want to see a kid from the Chicago suburbs eventually make the 53?