The 2020 NFL preseason may be completely canceled due to COVID-19. It already has been altered, with teams unable to train at their facilities and other events being delayed. That being said, if the preseason games end up happening, it’s fun to wonder who will shine for each team?
For the Chicago Bears, they’ve had plenty of preseason superstars. In 2017, rookie receiver Tanner Gentry made headlines with his performances. Last season, receiver Javon Wims and linebacker James Vaughters were camp favorites.
Players earn roster spots based on their preseason efforts. Day 3 draft picks and undrafted rookies earn their stripes and a chance to be on that 53 man crew with these performances. We’ll look into the team’s youth, including their undrafted rookies With this all said, here are some likely candidates for Bears preseason stars:
Rile Ridley, Wide Receiver
Riley Ridley was the Bears’ fourth-round selection in 2019. He sat out the preseason due to injuries and ended up playing not much of a role in a disappointing Bears offense. He ended his rookie season with six receptions for only 69 yards. Ridley is now coming in his sophomore year with a spot to earn: with Taylor Gabriel gone, the team will look to find his replacement. He will also have Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky throwing to him in these games, as head coach Matt Nagy has made it clear his starters will play if these games happen.
Ridley was a weapon for the Georgia Bulldogs back in his college days. He became a contributor to the offense as a true freshman. Ridley also had a remarkable junior stat line: 43 receptions, 559 yards, nine touchdowns. He has similar potential to his older brother Calvin Ridley, a star for the Atlanta Falcons. With a year to learn under his belt, the preseason is Ridley’s time to shine and prove he can be a star for this Bears offense.
Ledarius Mack, EDGE
The younger brother of Khalil Mack, Ledarius Mack is signing as an undrafted free agent for the Bears. Many UDFA’s struggle to make the 53 man roster, but Mack may have a literal edge over his competition, and it’s not just his last name.
Mack had a great 2019 season for Buffalo, where he totaled 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He has a lot of his brother’s athletic ability and talent within him. The Bears pass rush could also use some much-needed depth, despite the addition of Trevis Gipson. A need for talent behind his brother and newly acquired Robert Quinn should be the push Mack needs to give it all he’s got when the preseason begins.
Artavis Pierce, Running Back
Another undrafted rookie, Pierce is coming into a Bears offense that struggled with the run game, so he’s got a chip on his shoulder. Besides David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen, there’s not much depth in the run game besides fellow Oregon State back Ryan Nall. Pierce’s senior season had him almost eclipsing 900 yards, so he brings a back who can be a true work horse. So long as the Bears offensive line kicks into gear, expect Pierce to compete for the third-string job.
Kindle Vindor, Cornerback
Vindor is entering a crowded competition at nickel cornerback with Buster Skrine and Duke Shelley. That being said, the preseason is the prime place for him to prove he belongs in the starting lineup. He’ll be able to distribute his aggressive play style and prowess to the ball during these games. Vindor could also see a shift to safety or outside cornerback. He’s also likely to be a special teams contributor from the get-go, so if he can make some plays then, he looks to cement his spot on the roster even more.
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