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Bears’ 53-man roster projection following the 2023 NFL draft

The 2023 NFL draft is in the books, and the Chicago Bears are gearing up for the next stage of their offseason before breaking for the summer.

General manager Ryan Poles focused primarily on defense, which makes sense given the number of holes. In all, Chicago added three defensive tackles, two cornerbacks, one offensive tackle, one running back, one wide receiver, one linebacker and one safety.

Poles have garnered praise for a solid draft. While his draft class did not feature any sexy picks, he addressed the team’s biggest needs and got great value on the third day of the draft.

Following the NFL draft and rookie minicamp, here’s a look at our early 53-man roster projection for the Bears, which features plenty of rookies.

Quarterback (2)

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Fields is entering a pivotal third season with the Bears, where the expectation is that he takes a step forward in the passing game. The team signed Walker to serve as Fields’ backup and released Trevor Siemian shortly after.

Running back (5)

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The Bears overhauled the running back room after David Montgomery exited in free agency. They signed Foreman and Homer in free agency and drafted Johnson in the fifth round, and Johnson should challenge for reps with Herbert and Foreman. The team also re-signed fullback Blasingame to a two-year deal.

Wide receiver (6)

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The Bears upgraded their wide receiver group with the addition of Moore, who was part of the trade for the No. 1 pick with the Panthers. Now, Chicago’s top wideouts include Moore, Mooney and Claypool, as well as Jones and St. Brown. In the fifth round of the draft, they selected Scott, a speedster who should be a vertical threat.

Tight ends (3)

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Kmet is coming off a career year with the Bears, where he was a big part of the passing game. Chicago signed Tonyan to a one-year deal in free agency, where he’ll serve as a nice complement to Kmet. Tonyan is more of a receiver than a blocker, and he should factor into the red zone approach.

Offensive line (9)

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The starting offensive line is set following the draft, where they selected Wright with their first pick. He fills the hole at right tackle, and it appears that Whitehair will be the guy at center after the team didn’t address the position in the draft.

Edge rusher (4)

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The Bears still have some work to do at edge rusher, after not drafting one, and they could turn to free agency to add a veteran. The group is headlined by Walker, Gipson, Green and Robinson.

Interior defensive line (5)

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Chicago added some solid options along the defensive interior in the draft with Dexter and Pickens, who will be key rotational pieces with Jones and Billings.

Linebacker (5)

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The Bears overhauled the linebacker position and free agency, and the team’s starting linebackers are set with Edwards and Edmunds. But the team landed a potential steal in Sewell, who could challenge Sanborn for the SAM role.

Cornerback (7)

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The Bears found a quality third cornerback in Stevenson, who they traded up for in the second round of the draft. He’ll join Johnson and Gordon in the defensive backfield. Smith, a fifth-round selection, should serve as key depth behind Johnson.

Security (4)

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There’s no doubt that Jackson and Brisker will lead a strong safety group for Chicago. While DeAndre Houston-Carson remains unsigned, that could mean an increased role for Hicks in his second season. The Bears also drafted Williamson late in the seventh round.

Specialists (3)

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The Bears re-signed Scales to a one-year deal to keep their special teams trio in tact heading into 2023. Chicago has consistency with their core specialists in Santos, Gill and Scales, who are heading into their second year together.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire

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