Chicago Bears final roster prediction: Defensive Line
Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Bilal Nichols, Mario Edwards, Khyiris Tonga, Angelo Blackson
Last year, the Bears kept only five defensive linemen on their final 53-man roster. But this year, they have far too much talent to cut the fifth or sixth guy in line. Angelo Blackson has made an impact on the preseason and showed why the Bears were confident in him even if Akiem Hicks was traded early on in the offseason.
Blackson is too talented to cut at this point, and offers the Bears tremendous depth. Like Blackson, Khyiris Tonga has become too good of a player to consider cutting. He has been an absolute force in the middle, proving to the Bears that they don’t just have one stout run-stuffer, but two. Between Eddie Goldman and Tonga, the nose tackle position is in great shape.
Back to Hicks for a minute, though. He is in a contract year and likely won’t return to the Bears unless he takes a discount. His agent has asked for an extension recently, and Hicks would love to retire in Chicago. But, that would mean two things happen. First, Hicks’ body holds up. Second, Hicks is willing to take less pay to remain with the Bears.
Highlighting Bilal Nichols and Mario Edwards for a moment, these guys are excellent off the end position and will help keep each other fresh all year long. Edwards was a bright spot last year for the Bears, so much so that they gave him a multi-year extension. Chicago’s defensive line could end up being one of the team’s biggest strengths in 2021.