Bears’ depth chart analysis following the 2024 NFL draft

Bears add 5 rookies in draft

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams celebrates after being chosen by the Chicago Bears with the first overall pick during the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The NFL draft is over. Now, the anticipation for the 2024 season can begin in earnest.

The Bears made a big splash last week when they drafted USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the first overall pick and Washington receiver Rome Odunze with the ninth pick. They made three more selections throughout the weekend and added a handful of undrafted free agents as well.

The 2024 roster is nearly complete. Once the rookies officially sign their contracts, the Bears still should have some salary cap space to work with. So they could make another free agent addition or two before the season begins. For the most part, though, this is what the team will look like come Week 1.

Below is an updated look at the Bears’ depth chart following the NFL draft.


Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams walks on stage before the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Detroit.

Starter: Caleb Williams

Backups: Tyson Bagent, Brett Rypien, Austin Reed

Williams will transform the outlook at the quarterback position. Bagent will likely be QB2 on the depth chart. Reed is an undrafted free agent addition. He led FBS quarterbacks in passing in 2022 at Western Kentucky.

Running back

Starters: D’Andre Swift, Khari Blasingame (fullback)

Backups: Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson, Travis Homer, Ian Wheeler

The Bears added Swift in free agency, but did not draft any running backs. Wheeler signed with the team as an undrafted free agent, but he’s more likely to compete for playing time as a kick returner than as a running back.

Wide receiver

Starters: DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, Rome Odunze

Backups: Tyler Scott, Dante Pettis, Velus Jones Jr., Collin Johnson, Nsimba Webster

The Bears traded a fourth-round draft pick to the Chargers in exchange for Allen, then drafted Odunze with the No. 9 overall pick. The wide receiver position looks vastly different than it did a year ago. Scott or Pettis are likely the fourth receiver. Jones is fighting for a roster spot as a kick returner.

Tight end

Starter: Cole Kmet

Backups: Gerald Everett, Stephen Carlson, Brenden Bates

Kmet and Everett should be on the field often. New offensive coordinator Shane Waldron loves to use multiple tight ends. Bates, an undrafted rookie, is primarily a blocking tight end.

Offensive line

Starters: Braxton Jones (LT), Teven Jenkins (LG), Coleman Shelton (C), Nate Davis (RG), Darnell Wright (RT)

Backups: Ryan Bates, Kiran Amegadjie, Matt Pryor, Ja’Tyre Carter, Larry Borom, Jake Curhan, Aviante Collins, Jerome Carvin, Doug Kramer, Bill Murray, Theo Benedet

The Bears added two potential centers by signing former Rams center Coleman Shelton and trading for versatile interior lineman Ryan Bates. Either could wind up as the starting center. Amegadjie, a third-round draft pick, seems likely to be the swing tackle in 2024. The Bears believe in Jones and Wright at the tackle spots. Jenkins and Davis will be starters, but Bates could step in if/when injuries occur.

Defensive line

Kansas defensive lineman Austin Booker runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in February in Indianapolis.

Starters: Montez Sweat (DE), Gervon Dexter (DT), Andrew Billings (DT), DeMarcus Walker (DE)

Backups: Zacch Pickens, Dominique Robinson, Austin Booker, Jake Martin, Byron Cowart, Khalid Kareem, Michael Dwumfour, Daniel Hardy, Jamree Kromah, Keith Randolph Jr.

The Bears added Randolph, a defensive tackle out of Illinois, and Kromah, a defensive end from James Madison, as undrafted free agents. This came after drafting Booker, an edge rusher from Kansas, in the fifth round. As of now, Dexter appears to be in the starting lineup after ending the 2023 season strong. The Bears could still add veteran help at defensive end prior to Week 1.


Starters: Tremaine Edmunds, TJ Edwards, Jack Sanborn

Backups: Amen Ogbongbemiga, Noah Sewell, Micah Baskerville, Carl Jones Jr.

The only addition over the weekend was Jones, an undrafted rookie from UCLA. Jones is expected to compete for time on special teams. Most likely, there will be no surprises on the 53-man roster at the linebacker spot.


Starters: Jaylon Johnson, Tyrique Stevenson, Kyler Gordon (nickel)

Backups: Terell Smith, Josh Blackwell, Jaylon Jones, Greg Stroman Jr., Leon Jones, Reddy Steward

The Bears didn’t select any defensive backs during the draft. Steward and Leon Jones signed as undrafted rookies. Steward was a ballhawk with nine career interceptions at Troy. In the starting lineup, the Bears locked up Johnson for four more seasons, making him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in football. Smith will likely be the first corner off the bench and Blackwell will continue contributing on special teams.


Starters: Jaquan Brisker, Kevin Byard

Backups: Jonathan Owens, Elijah Hicks, Quindell Johnson, Tarvarius Moore, Adrian Colbert, Douglas Coleman

No changes at safety. Brisker and Byard will be the starters. Owens and Hicks could come off the bench and likely will contribute on special teams.

Special teams

Iowa punter Tory Taylor (9) punts during the first half of a 2021 NCAA college football game against Purdue in Iowa City, Iowa.

Starters: Cairo Santos (K), Tory Taylor (P), Patrick Scales (LS)

Backups: Corliss Waitman (P), Cameron Lyons (LS)

A fourth-round pick, Taylor will become the team’s starting punter. The All-American out of Iowa was the first kicker or punter drafted this year, going 122nd overall.

On paper, Velus Jones Jr. looks like the favorite to be the kick returner, especially with the new kick return rules. Receiver Tyler Scott or running back Khalil Herbert could also be in the running. The punt returner could be Jones, Scott or receiver Dante Pettis.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.