4 Bears on Thin ice Following the NFL Draft

After the Bears' strong performance at the 2024 NFL Draft, these four Chicago players are finding themselves on thin ice as the offseason continues.
Veteran WR Dante Pettis is one of four Bears who are on thin ice following the 2024 NFL Draft.
Veteran WR Dante Pettis is one of four Bears who are on thin ice following the 2024 NFL Draft. / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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2./3. Trenton Gill/Corliss Waitman, P

The Bears decided to shake up their special teams in the fourth round by drafting Iowa's Tory Taylor with the 122nd overall selection. The 26-year-old punter led the entire nation in both punts and punting yards in the last two seasons, even earning the 2023 Ray Guy Award as the best player at his position in all of college football.

In other words, Taylor's arrival means some competition for Trenton Gill and Corliss Waitman. After all, I doubt that the Bears would use a fourth-round pick on a punter who they don't intend to use or at least give a serious look.

Gill, 25, appeared in 16 games for the Bears last season, averaging 46.1 punting yards on 67 attempts — the 26th-best average in the league. His touchback percentage nearly tripled from his rookie year (4.5% to 11.9%) as he also saw only 26.9% of his punts fall inside the 20-yard line as opposed to 30.3% in 2022.

Meanwhile, Waitman is a new addition to Chicago's roster after signing a future contract in January. The Bears represent the sixth organization that the 28-year-old has joined since joining the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2020. Having said that, he has played a regular season game since tallying 4,470 yards on an NFL-high 96 punts with the Denver Broncos in 2022.

With all of the potential that Taylor oozes, it's clear that Gill and Waitman have a lot to prove this offseason. Both veteran punters are looking rather replaceable at this stage of their respective careers and it might not be longer before they're seeking other employment opportunities.