Evaluating the preseason for Bears rookies

Chicago+Bears+quarterback+Justin+Fields+plays+against+the+Tennessee+Titans+in+the+first+half+of+a+preseason+NFL+football+game+Saturday%2C+Aug.+28%2C+2021%2C+in+Nashville%2C+Tenn.+%28AP+Photo%2FWade+Payne%29

Courtesy of AP

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields plays against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Noah Silver, Sports Reporter

As the final snaps of the 2021 NFL preseason were taken, rookies from all around the league attempted to prove their worth to their teams. 

While some picks were virtual locks to make this season’s roster, others were constantly on the hot seat and needed to make plays to assure them one of the 53 coveted spots on the regular season roster. 

Chicago’s first-round selection and future franchise quarterback Justin Fields further cemented his argument as “the guy” putting up stellar numbers while also showing his maturity under pressure.

Fields took some big hits, including a jarring blindside shot by Buffalo Bills linebacker Andre Smith that knocked off the rookie’s helmet and headband. Fans in Soldier Field let out a huge sigh of relief when Fields popped up, ready for the next play.

Head coach Matt Nagy has already named veteran quarterback “Red Rifle” Andy Dalton as the week one starter, following through on a promise he made to the “QB1” back in March before Fields was drafted.

Second-round offensive tackle Teven Jenkins out of Oklahoma State didn’t get his chance to shine for the Chicago line as he was kept out with lingering back problems throughout training camp. 

Although Jenkins couldn’t perform for his new team, obvious issues on the Bears O-Line basically guarantees Jenkins a roster spot when and if he returns this season. 

Looking to revive a beaten down and horrendous O-Line, Chicago used its fifth-round pick to select their “gem of the draft,” tackle Larry Borom from Mizzou. Borom played his college days at right tackle, not allowing a sack throughout the entirety of the 2020 season. 

This preseason, Borom took over the left tackle spot, making way for Jenkins to join his fellow rookie. Borom absolutely showed out this preseason. Barring any injuries, he should be expected to start in the trenches for Chicago’s first game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Chicago had volume in the sixth round and selected running back Khalil Herbert from Virginia Tech, wide receiver Dazz Newsome from North Carolina and cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. from Oregon.

Herbert by far had the best showing of the three, finding the end zone twice in three games. Newsome and Graham Jr. were both relatively quiet in all three games, hence why they were cut before the Aug. 31 deadline. 

With the Bears wide receiver core already as thin as it is, it is a head-scratcher as to why they cut such a promising young speedster in Newsome. It will be up to Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney to shoulder the receiving load.

Seventh-rounder defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga from Brigham Young had a quiet but effective showing this preseason with an intimidating and physical presence. This helped to open up the field for other tackles and linebackers to halt offensive production. Tonga will be a nice fit behind veteran Eddie Goldman. 

An overall great draft has opened the door for Chicago’s rookies to take a big step in their development as they will see a lot of playing time and will have the chance to make a name for themselves in the Windy City.