Analyze the 6 bear waiver thread additions
The Chicago Bears were the busiest team in the NFL on Wednesday during the roster finalization waiver request cycle. While all teams sent players via waivers, the Bears led the league with six waiver requests made Wednesday, including some pretty notable names.
As noted above, the Bears have claimed Alex Leatherwood from the Las Vegas Raiders, Armon Watts from the Minnesota Vikings, Josh Blackwell from the Philadelphia Eagles, Kingsley Jonathan from the Buffalo Bills, Sterling Weatherford from the Indianapolis Colts and Trevin Wesco from the New York. Jets. All six players bring unique skills and significantly improve the roster. All in all, looks like a good job by Ryan Poles.
Understandably, fans don’t see a wide receiver on this roster, which has some worried about this positional group entering the season. Still, the six players still find a way to make the Bears better than they were when the original 53-player roster was compiled. Let’s dive into it.
Alex Leatherwood was selected in the first round by the Raiders in 2021 as the 17th overall pick. Coming out of Alabama, Leatherwood was considered a first-round selection without a doubt, and the Raiders made it a reality. However, instead of coming in and becoming an important cog on the line, he fell out of favor with the organization after one season.
For Bears, this move presents a low-risk, high-reward advantage. Of course, the Bears land Leatherwood’s guaranteed rookie contract by claiming him, but more than 50% of the total value of his contract has already been paid by the Raiders. Now the Bears have a depth in the crease that could turn into something better if developed properly. He probably won’t start this season with the line mostly set, but he does present solid depth for Chicago.
Don’t think too much about Leatherwood. In the best case, he becomes a starter next season. Worst-case scenario, he’s a solid replacement for the Bears.
Armon Watts might be the biggest steal of the waiver wire for Ryan Poles. Former Vikings defensive tackle turned roster casualty thanks to Minnesota switch from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 defense.
Watts is coming off a career year in 2021. As a 2019 rookie, the Arkansas product appeared in seven games with one start but recorded just 13 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. With some improvement in 2020 on those numbers, he broke out last season. With nine starts and appearances in the 17 games, Watts had 46 total tackles, 5.0 sacks and two forced fumbles. The 26-year-old tackle was solid for the Bears’ NFC North rival.
Now Watts has a fast track to one-technical defensive tackle. In a 4-3 base defense, tackles traditionally line up in the three-way technique (outside shoulder of the strong side guard) and the one-way technique (center shoulder away from the force). Watts will accompany Justin Jones in the trenches this season.
Blackwell is somewhat unknown to many in the NFL. After going undrafted in 2022, the rookie cornerback from Duke signed with the Eagles. However, after his placement on waivers, the Bears brought him into the fold.
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Perhaps Blackwell’s greatest attribute is his speed. After sprinting 4.33 for 40 yards, he brings raw athleticism to the Bears secondary. Fans have already seen the Poles target above-average athletes in his first draft as GM, so this waiver wire acquisition should come as no surprise. The Poles clearly love monster athletes, and the 4.33 speed will always excite people as an attribute that cannot be taught.
It’s unclear what kind of role Blackwell will have this season. But the undrafted rookie brings an incredible set of raw tools that the Bears appreciate. He will most likely fit into the Bears’ special teams mix this season.
Kingsley Jonathan was claimed off waivers for the Buffalo Bills. Despite being another undrafted rookie, Jonathan was the first overall selection in the 2022 CFL World Draft. The Syracuse product has been in high demand, making him another solid addition for the Bears on the wire. of waiver.
Jonathan ran a 4.76 as a defensive end, although he was listed as an outside linebacker on some draft profiles. The rookie brings another athlete to a position that looks deep with talent for Chicago. The team returned Sam Kamara to the practice squad after leading the pre-season under pressure from QBs. Additionally, the room still includes Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson, rookie Dominique Robinson and veteran offseason addition Al-Quadin Muhammad.
Perhaps one of the most exciting picks, Sterling Weatherford is yet another undrafted rookie to join the Bears. In fact, Colts general manager Chris Ballard expressed his displeasure in Weatherford’s loss to the Bears on waivers. The converted Miami (OH) safety brings plenty of athleticism and speed.
Weatherford may be a bit of a joker, but he’s yet another athlete at linebacker. The Colts and Bears have been running nearly identical programs defensively, since head coach Matt Eberflus’ time there, so seeing what Weatherford did in Indianapolis gives fans an idea of what he could do in Chicago if necessary.
Trevon Wesco isn’t another undrafted rookie, but he’s a highly coveted player after hitting the waiver wire. According to a report, four teams claim Wesco. Luckily for the Bears, they were able to have their claim granted first, which allowed the fourth-year pro to join the team.
Wesco’s numbers from his time with the Jets aren’t mind-blowing, but the demand for his services speaks volumes. He’s never recorded more than three catches and 47 yards in a season, but he’s played at least 12 games every year so far in the league.
After the Bears beat the initial roster of 53 players with just two tight ends, it’s not as surprising that they added Wesco via waivers. Maybe Chicago has big plans for the West Virginia product this season.
Bear Waiver Summary
Overall, one thing is very clear with all these moves. Ryan Poles continues to add incredible athletes to the Bears roster in hopes of finding difference makers. Up top, Armon Watts will have a huge impact on the team’s defensive line, but the whole group of new players makes the Bears better now than they were earlier in the week.
Chicago Bears football is just around the corner. Chances are fans will see a number of these players throughout the season making a difference on the pitch.