The 2022 NFL preseason has now come to a close, and the Bears surprised people finishing 3-0 and showing some good potential on the field. Of course headliners like second year QB Justin Fields, rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker, and third year TE Cole Kmet caught a lot of attention, and rightfully so, but they have sure spots on this team. There are a lot of guys who really have to prove themselves in the off-season and preseason to hope to have a spot on the final 53 man roster, and today,as per usual, I want to look at some of the guys from the WR corps.
To me there are three guys have stood out enough to snag a spot on the final depth chart. We’ll start off with the guy who I think surprised me most, Isaiah Coulter. Coulter is going into his third year in the league, and his second with the Bears organization. Last year the former Houston Texan spent his time on the practice squad after being waived shortly after his signing. However, this preseason he’s shown ability that could get him a spot on the final 53. In the three preseason games Coulter netted 8 catches for 112 yards and led the team in yardage in two of the three games, and in one of those two he went 3/3 targets/receptions for 61 yards. While likely more of a depth guy he’s still done well enough this preseason to make the roster, especially with some of the other WR injuries.
Another guy who had himself a solid preseason is fifth year man Dante Pettis. Pettis was an off-season move by our new Bears regime that previously spent time in San Francisco, who took him in the second round of the 2018 draft, and with the NY Giants. In his rookie season with the 49ers Pettis had put up ok numbers in his 12 appearances with 27 receptions for 467 yards, but after that he hasn’t really done much of anything. Last season he spent a vast majority of his time on the Giants practice squad and ultimately was not resigned leading to the Bears picking him up on a one year deal for $1,035,000. Looking to turn things around Pettis is off to a decent start this preseason. As a receiver Pettis appeared in two of the three games logging 6 receptions for 64 yards and 1 touchdown in total. While not eye popping numbers he’s shown strong flashes and proven to be a helpful addition to the special teams unit as well.
Lastly we have Tajae Sharpe, another 2022 addition. Sharp is a 6 year veteran in the NFL who has proven to be serviceable depth in his stints with the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons. Picked up by the Bears in May Sharpe looks to continue to be a contributor in the NFL. Playing in only one preseason game this year, in which he had 2 receptions for 44 yards, you might think that goal to add to a WR corps is unlikely. However, if you go back and look at his play from that game I think you’ll be fairly impressed. Sharpe may have had only 2 catches but they were doozies. The first grab was on 3rd & 9 deep in their own territory where Sharpe, running along the sideline, made a tremendous toe-tapping catch in traffic for an 18 yard gain and the other was a leaping grab for 22 yards. His ability to catch in traffic, I think, popped enough in that game to garner some consideration from Pole and coach Eberflus.
With preseason officially over in Chicago and the final cut coming up very soon we’ll just have to see if these guys will get their chance. They’ve all done what they can to make the team, and now I guess we’ll find out this Tuesday August 30th if it was enough.