Potential Cuts Trending Upward

JC constructed a 53-man roster before minicamp, making 27 cuts along the way. But after watching three days of workouts, it is time to revisit the 53. These five are making a case to stick around:

Will Ta'ufo'ou

After spending last season on the practice squad, it appears Ta'ufo'ou has the inside track on being the starting fullback in 2010 once veteran Jason McKie was let go over the offseason. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz tends to use a lot of three- and four-receiver sets, which means the fullback is going to be on the sideline more often than not, but it was the 5-11, 247-pound Ta'ufo'ou getting the majority of the first-team reps when a two-back formation was employed. If that wasn't enough, the former Cal Bear made the best catch of minicamp when he laid out to reel in a throw down the seam from Jay Cutler, a catch so impressive that he even got some pats on the helmet from his defensive counterparts as he trotted back to the huddle.

Originally cast aside in favor of free-agent signee Eddie Williams, it now makes more sense for Ta'ufo'ou to head to training camp atop the depth chart and eventually make the 53-man roster.

Desmond Clark

Perhaps the toughest cut on the offensive side of the football because he has been a productive veteran and a leader in the locker room, Clark's future came into question once Brandon Manumaleuna came aboard via free agency and the much-ballyhooed trade of Greg Olsen never came to fruition. It made more sense before minicamp to keep third-year pro Kellen Davis because he is more than eight years younger and has shown flashes of ability here and there. But while Davis was stuck doing a lot of blocking on the second-team offense in minicamp, Clark was being targeted quite often with the first stringers and doesn't seem to have lost very much.

While it's difficult to get a firm grasp of the tight end position at this juncture since Manumaleuna is coming off a knee scope and wasn't able to work out, keeping four tight ends again is a real possibility.

Johan Asiata

Just another undrafted rookie free agent in 2009 that spent a season of anonymity on the practice squad, suddenly Asiata was getting first-team reps at both right and left guard throughout the three days of practice at Halas Hall. One of the reasons he got so much action with the starters was the fact that Olin Kreutz is recovering from surgery and won't be back on the field until training camp, meaning Josh Beekman and Roberto Garza played a fair share of center over the weekend, but new offensive line coach Mike Tice reportedly likes Asiata's game. If Beekman, Kevin Shaffer or Lance Louis doesn't step up soon, the 6-4, 310-pound Asiata has an outside chance to compete seriously for the starting job at left guard.


DT Matt Toeaina
Getty Images: Jonathan Daniel

It was seventh rounder J'Marcus Webb making it through the final cutdown on the pre-minicamp final roster, but since he would probably pass through waivers unclaimed, the rookie can mature on the practice squad in 2010 if Asiata proves to be a keeper.

Matt Toeaina

With Tommie Harris taking it easy on his brittle body and only participating in one of the two practices that took place on both Friday and Saturday, Toeaina was somewhat surprisingly getting most of the first-team reps at three-technique defensive tackle in the three-time Pro Bowler's stead. Second-year D-linemen Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton were supposedly going to see their work at tackle this season after the addition of Julius Peppers, but while Melton was indeed the second-team three technique, Gilbert got his snaps at end. No matter how healthy he is, the Bears need a productive penetrator behind Harris, as he can only be on the field 55-60 percent of the time.

In order to make room for Toeaina, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Bears cut the cord on Marcus Harrison, who missed minicamp entirely because he was "sick" and still looks to be battling a weight problem.

D.J. Moore

Considered a steal in the fourth round of last year's draft, especially since many talent evaluators gave him a second-round grade, Moore was lucky to make the team coming out of training camp and a game-day inactive almost all of 2009. Only two players got time at nickel back during minicamp, and with Corey Graham taking care of that duty on the first team, Moore got the nod with the second unit. The undersized Moore – he's generously listed at 5-9 and 192 pounds – isn't going to threaten for a starting job at cornerback any time soon, but perhaps he can make his presence felt at nickel back since Danieal Manning lined up at strong safety and strong safety alone over the weekend.

What is left to be determined, however, is if Moore's shift to nickel is an effort to get him into the mix or an admission that he simply can't play corner in this scheme.

Note: To review JC's original 53-man roster, which was published May 6, or more than two full weeks before this past weekend's veteran minicamp, Click Here.


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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter 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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