12 players to watch at Bears’ mandatory minicamp:

The Chicago Bears wrapped organized team activities last week, and the attention now shifts to mandatory minicamp.

There are plenty of storylines and players to watch heading into these three days of practice before the team breaks for the summer ahead of training camp.

As the Bears kick off mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, here’s a look at some players to keep an eye on:

QB Justin Fields:

AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh:

Justin Fields is the most important player on this roster heading into a pivotal Year 2, where the expectation is he’ll take a step forward this season. Fields is learning a new offense under Luke Getsy, but it’s one that fits his skillset and will put him in a position to succeed. Fields has impressed his teammates this offseason with his command of the offense and his leadership.

CB Jaylon Johnson:

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports:

Jaylon Johnson made headlines when he worked with the second-team defense during the second week of OTAs, which Matt Eberflus said not to read into. So it was not exactly a surprise to see him back with the starters during the final week of OTAs. The expectation is Johnson will once again be back with the first-team defense as mandatory minicamp kicks off.

RT Teven Jenkins:

AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh:

Like Johnson, Teven Jenkins turned heads when he was working with the second-team offense during the final week of OTAs. Jenkins saw reps at right tackle, which appears to be his position moving forward, while rookie Braxton Jones saw some reps with the starters at left tackle and Larry Borom was moved to right tackle. It’s too early to start worrying about starting jobs. But all eyes will be on Jenkins to see if he’s back with the starters.

DE Robert Quinn:

AP Photo / Duane Burleson:

Robert Quinn skipped the entire voluntary portion of the Bears’ offseason program, but Eberflus downplayed it considering it was voluntary. Now, all eyes will be on Quinn to see if he shows up for mandatory minicamp, which Eberflus expects him to do. Quinn is coming off an impressive season where he set a single-season franchise record with 18.5 sacks.

WR Byron Pringle:

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports:

The Bears need a wide receiver outside of Darnell Mooney to make an impact this season, and newcomer Byron Pringle is certainly a candidate to do just that. Pringle is the clear-cut WR2 behind Mooney, and he showed flashes of potential with the Chiefs last season. Pringle is going to be the beneficiary of some matchups, where he has the potential to emerge as a top option for Fields.

CB Kyler Gordon:

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports:

Kyler Gordon has already been making an impression during the offseason program, where he’s expected to start at outside cornerback opposite Johnson. Gordon was not present during the final open practice of OTAs last Wednesday, and Eberflus did not give a reason. All eyes will be on Gordon to see if he returns to the practice field and finally gets to line up opposite Johnson with the starters.

S Jaquan Brisker:

AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh:

Jaquan Brisker is another rookie who’s already been impressing during the offseason program, and he’s expected to start at strong safety opposite Eddie Jackson. Brisker has been a ballhawk during the voluntary portion of the offseason program, which is exactly what the defense needs. We’ll see if Brisker can continue to make the kind of plays this defense needs heading into 2022.

WR Velus Jones Jr.

AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh:

As mentioned earlier, the Bears need another receiver outside of Mooney to emerge as a top target for Fields. Third-round rookie Velus Jones Jr. certainly has an opportunity to do just that. Jones has already been impressing with his speed and run-after-the-catch ability, and he’s learning every position to give him a greater opportunity to see the field. Jones is expected to make an immediate impact as a rookie, where Luke Getsy can have some fun utilizing his skillset.

OT Braxton Jones:

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports:

While all eyes have been on Gordon, Brisker and Jones Jr., there’s one rookie who’s been quietly impressing. Fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones is an under-the-radar player to watch after he saw reps at left tackle with the starting offense during the final week of OTAs. While it does not indicate he’ll be starting as a rookie, the coaching staff was clearly impressed enough to consider him as part of a potential starting offensive line.

DE Al-Quadin Muhammad:

AP Photo / Darryl Webb:

Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad is a key addition this offseason, where he’s competing for the starting job with Trevis Gipson. Muhammad was the only other player who skipped the majority of the voluntary offseason program, along with Quinn. But Muhammad also has the added benefit of playing in Eberflus’ scheme during his time with the Colts. Now, we’ll finally get to see what Muhammad brings to the table heading into the summer.

OL Sam Mustipher:

AP Photo / Duane Burleson:

Sam Mustipher might still have a place on the starting offensive line, despite being replaced at center by Lucas Patrick this offseason. During OTAs, Mustipher has seen plenty of reps at right guard, where he’s been rotating with free-agent addition Dakota Dozier. Right now, you figure Mustipher has the upper hand when it comes to winning the job. But the competition is far from over.

OL Dakota Dozier:

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports:

The Bears signed Dakota Dozier this offseason to serve as depth along the offensive line. But it sounds like he’s competing for the starting right guard job. During minicamp, Dozier has been rotating with Mustipher at right guard with the first-team offense. We’ll see if Dozier can make a push for a starting job. Otherwise, he’ll serve as key depth.

[listicle id=508498]





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.