2012 Depth Charts, Draft and Off Season Preview: Chicago Bears

The first of (hopefully) 32 NFL Off Season previews. I have the current depth charts and a list of free agents. Even though I hate doing so because needs will change so quickly, I will also have a little commentary on what each team could do with their first round draft pick if the draft was held today. Enjoy.

Chicago Bears

Depth Chart

QB - Jay Cutler, Nate Enderle
RB - Marion Barber, Armando Allen
FB - Tyler Clutts
WR - Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Dane Sanzenbacher
TE - Kyle Adams
OT - Gabe Carimi, J'Marcus Webb, Frank Omiyale
OG - Chris Williams, Lance Louis
C - Roberto Garza, Chris Spencer

DE - Julius Peppers, Corey Wootton, Chauncey Davis, Thaddeus Gibson
DT - Henry Melton, Matt Toeania, Anthony Adams, Stephen Paea
OLB - Lance Briggs, Nick Roach, JT Thomas
MLB - Brian Ulracher, Dom DeCicco
CB - Charles Tillman, DJ Moore
FS - Chris Conte, Anthony Walters
SS - Major Wright

PK - Robbie Gould
P - Adam Podlesh
LS - Patrick Mannelly

Reserve/Future Contract: TE Draylen Ross, C Reggie Stephens, S Donovan Warren

Restricted Free Agents: RB Kahlil Bell, RB Matt Forte, C Edwin Williams

Unrestricted Free Agents: QB Caleb Hanie, QB Josh McCown, WR Roy Williams, TE Kellen Davis, TE Matt Spaeth, P Spencer Lanning (Signed with Jaguars), DL Marcus Harrison, DL Israel Idonije, DL Amobi Okoye, CB Zackary Bowman, CB Corey Graham, CB Tim Jennings, S Greg Steltz, S Brandon Meriweather

2011 Recap (8-8)

The Bears looked like they were well on the way to the playoffs until Matt Forte and then Jay Cutler were lost for the season. The wheels completely fell off as the team lost five of their last six games.

Key Free Agents

The Bears would love to resign Matt Forte, and Forte said he is opening to returning, even if it is under the franchise tag. The Bears have low balled Forte the last couple of seasons, and should open the check books to bring him back. Forte flourished under Mike Martz, who is gone now of course, but should continue to be an excellent running back under any system. He is only 26 years old, still well in his prime.

There are a few other free agents the Bears would like to resign. Kahlil Bell could be a cheap second or third string running back. Tim Jennings, Amobi Okoye and Israel Idonije all played key roles on the Bears defense last year.

Biggest Needs

Other then Cutler and Forte, this offense needs talent pretty much everywhere. On the top of Chicago's wish list is a big, number one wideout. That would allow guys like Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester to be secondary weapons. A tight end is needed as well, since the Mike Martz offense rendered Greg Olson useless, and eventually he was traded.

It is no secret the Bears offensive line needs a continued overhaul. J'Marcus Webb has been a disaster at left tackle. Gabe Carimi was having a nice year before he got hurt, and could move over to the left side in 2012. The interior is decent, with former first round bust at tackle Chris Williams finding a home at guard. The team would like to find a center so they can move Roberto Garza back to his more natural guard position.

The defense is pretty solid, though a few key guys are aging. The one spot I can see the team spending money and/or draft picks is the secondary. Chris Conte looks like a keeper at safety, but the Bears have several cornerbacks due to hit free agency, and free safety could use an upgrade.

Possible Free Agent Targets

DE Mario Williams, Texans. The Bears have been known to go after the big name before, and it has been successful, as Jay Cutler and Julius Peppers might be their two best players. The Bears will probably be in on several big names. Rumblings have the Texans letting Williams go, and he will probably be happy to go back to a 4-3 defense. Super Mario and Julius Peppers as your starting ends would be terror for opposing quarterbacks.

DE Cliff Avril, Lions. Though Idonije had a solid year, he is into his 30's. Avril is only 26 and could actually find his way into free agency as the Lions won't have a ton of cap space. He would be a great alternative to Williams and the Bears could stick it to a division rival in the process.

WR Vincent Jackson, Chargers. WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs. WR Marques Colston, Saints. WR Stevie Johnson, Bills. I fully expect the Bears to land one of these four guys. Ideally it would probably be Bowe, who is the best and youngest of this group. But the Bears really need a number one guy with size who can move the chains and be Jay Cutler's workhorse on the outside. Something incumbent Roy Williams has failed to do for years.

TE John Carlson, Seahawks. I did not list Jermichael Finley or Fred Davis because I fully expect both of those players to be franchised. Carlson had a nice first few years in the NFL but has been forgotten since then. I think he could be a nice middle teir starter for the Bears.

Possible Draft Targets

Like I said, I hate doing this in February because team needs change so drastically once free agency starts. But here we go anyways. The Bears pick 19th in the first round.

CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska. Most of the Bears cornerbacks are free agents. Even if they bring back one or two, Dennard would be a younger and more talented addition.

WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame. If for some reason the Bears don't upgrade with a receiver over 6 foot, they could go after Midwest native Floyd. He has the size and skills to be Cutler's number one.

C Peter Konz, Wisconsin. Konz is one of a few first round interior lineman prospects. He is a stud and would allow Garza to move over to guard, improving the entire line.

MLB Luke Kuechly, Boston College. I have a feeling Kuechly could slip in the draft. His measurables and raw talent doesn't jump out at you, and that seems to be what most guys look at these days. He would be able to play all three positions and take over full time for Brian Ulracher in a few years.

Jonathan Carrano

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