On Saturday, the Bears welcomed the Kansas City Chiefs to Soldier Field for preseason game #1. Many fans and spectators were interested in Quarterback Justin Fields. However, the Bears rookies stood out to me and are worth discussing. So lets talk about who and what stood out to me.
It’s worth noting that Cornerback Kyler Gordon and Wide Receiver Velus Jones Jr. didn’t play in this first preseason game, but both should be ready to go for Thursday night vs. Seattle.
Safety Jaquan Brisker was absolutely fantastic. He showcased a lot of the skills that the Bears loved when they drafted him instead of taking a Wide Receiver, like most fans wanted. His closing speed mixed with his play recognition were really on display. There was one series where he was the guy who made all three plays to force a three and out. He tackled a Tight End on first down, a Runningback on second down, and got a near interception on third down. Brisker has a chance to be a staple in this secondary for years to come, and he showed flashes of his sky high potential in this game.
Left Tackle Braxton Jones has been a very unexpected surprise in training camp for a lot of people. However, a lot of draft experts thought he was great value in the 5th round when the Bears selected the Offensive Tackle from Southern Utah. He didn’t let up any sacks, but did allow 2 pressures on his 18 snaps. You expect a bit better, but for a 5th rounder in his first game, he showed some good stuff that has the franchise intrigued. Many see him as a future capable starting Left Tackle, but only time will tell. He has to start getting better after every game though, and more reps will help that.
Runningback Trestan Ebner looked like he was out there trying to make a statement. To me, his statement was that he not only wants to make the roster, but he wants to be a valuable part of this offense during the regular season. He looked better than Khalil Herbert, who struggled with a couple of drops, and also didn’t look as shifty as last year. Ebner has the advantage of being drafted by this regine, which could make it easier for Poles and Eberflus to put him at RB2.
Jack Sanborn was probably the biggest standout. He had 7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, and 1 fumble recovery. The undrafted Linebacker out of Wisconsin is on track to make the 53 man roster, and he may be needed, especially since we don’t know how the Roquan Smith situation will end. With Nicholas Morrow the other only starting caliber player at Linebacker, Sanborn has the biggest opportunity of his life.
Punter Trenton Gill is replacing the previously longest tenured Bear, in Pat O’Donnell, who was also a fan favorite. Gill flashed his leg in a good way this weekend. He had several punts inside the 20 yard line. He doesn’t have the strongest leg, but you don’t necessarily need it at that position. You need a leg that can pin someone deep.