The Bears have a proud tradition at middle linebacker, with all-time greats like Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, and Brian Urlacher at the top of the list. But the transition from Urlacher to the next generation hasn’t been seamless.
For now, a pair of candidates are vying for the starting job, and according to the officially unofficial depth chart, D.J. Williams and Jon Bostic are neck and neck as co-starters.
Williams, who signed as a free agent in 2013 and re-signed after the season, started last year until he tore a pectoral muscle in Week Six. Bostic took over, and the 50th overall pick in the 2013 draft struggled enough to prompt the Bears to consider sliding him to the outside for 2014.
The depth chart in the secondary shows Ryan Mundy as the starting strong safety and Brock Vereen as the starter at free safety, but as recently as Monday the Bears had moved Mundy to free safety and had elevated Adrian Wilson to the starting unit at strong safety. The depth chart nevertheless shows Wilson as the third-string strong safety.
M.D. Jennings, who signed with the Bears as a free agent from the Packers, is listed as the second-team free safety.
On offense, Jordan Palmer appears as the primary backup to Jay Cutler at quarterback, ahead of Jimmy Clausen. Rookie running back Ka’Deem Carey, a much-hyped fourth-round pick, is buried on the fourth string.
And in the first year without Devin Hester since 2006, receiver Eric Weems shows up as the top punt and kickoff returner.
Much more will be known about the depth chart and the reps when the Bears host the Eagles to launch the preseason on Friday night.