Possibilities for the Practice Squad

Not only do the Chicago Bears have to trim their roster down to 53 players before the start of the regular season, but they've also got to assign eight more to their practice squad. In all likelihood, the eight-man practice squad will be made up with some combination of the 10 names you see here ...

G Chester Adams

Adams told the Chicago media on draft day that he was probably better suited to play guard at the next level despite playing a lot of tackle at Georgia, but the seventh-round pick saw time at both positions during OTAs. If Josh Beekman is indeed the center of the future and not a legitimate candidate to start at guard, Adams could be in the mix come 2009.

DE Ervin Baldwin

Baldwin was very productive at Michigan State after starting out in junior college, but he came to the wrong team if he wants to make an impact right away as a rookie. Although Dan Bazuin has done nothing to justify being taken in Round 2 a year ago, so it will be interesting to see in Bourbonnais if Baldwin can push him for a spot on the active roster.

OT Kirk Barton

A classic right tackle in the pros, Barton was forced to sit and watch behind fellow seventh-rounder Adams for a while during the offseason program before finally getting a crack with the second unit. If veteran John Tait's move from the left side over to the right this year doesn't help as much as anticipated, perhaps he has less left in the tank than the organization thinks.

S Josh Gattis

Losing Mike Brown so early last season wreaked havoc on the secondary from start to finish, so the Midway Monsters would be wise to keep at least one more safety stashed away. Gattis is also known as a solid special-teams contributor, but right now he's behind the likes of Kevin Payne and rookie Craig Steltz on the depth chart.

QB Caleb Hanie

Hanie appears to have already won the battle with Nick Hill for third-string duties, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility that general manager Jerry Angelo could add a veteran signal-caller before the opener. Especially if Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton continue their up-and-down performance in training camp, which is a distinct possibility based on their OTA workouts.

LB Joey LaRocque

This team is already loaded with linebackers, so it's possible even a couple of quality special-teamers like Darrell McClover and Nick Roach will have a tough time making the final roster. But LaRocque has some potential over on the strong side and was quite productive at Oregon State, which means he's worth grooming for a year.

RB Matt Lawrence

Now that the Cedric Benson era has officially drawn to a close, the running back situation will be one of the main focuses down at Olivet Nazarene University. The team is putting an awful lot of faith in second-rounder Matt Forte, so there needs to be at least one more option behind Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe getting some reps every day.

TE Fontel Mines

Mines earned his spot on the practice squad a year ago as an undrafted free agent from Virginia, showing solid pass-catching ability while making the transition from oversized wide receiver to undersized tight end. But with the team taking Kellen Davis in the fifth round this past April, Mines was officially put on notice that his blocking must improve significantly.

RB Marcus Monk

An intriguing prospect thanks to his enviable combination of size and speed, Monk was on the board in Round 7 because of his history of injuries. The Bears will have to keep six wideouts in all likelihood because of Devin Hester's dual role as a return man, but Monk probably won't be in the running for the active roster unless the coaching staff gives up on Mark Bradley.

RB P.J. Pope

A preseason star for the Monsters of the Midway back in 2006, Pope spent most of last season on the practice squad injured reserve list and is still yet to log a carry in the NFL. If Lawrence doesn't impress anybody during training camp, then Pope could very well stay in Chicago because of his ability both as a runner and a receiver.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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