The Bears' rookies have some big shoes to fill.
With training camp only three weeks away, new coach Marc Trestman will have a lot of tough decisions as he tries to lead the Bears to the playoffs. Brian Urlacher's departure, rebuilding the offensive line, reviving an aging defense and protecting Jay Cutler will require the Bears to make considerable use of young talent.
Of the 18 rookies currently on the roster, only a few will make the final, 53-man roster. Here are three who could make the biggest impact this season:
Jon Bostic, linebacker
With Brian Urlacher's retirement, the Bears need someone to man the middle linebacker position he held for more than a decade. Bostic could be that guy. His football intelligence, instincts, strength, speed and power could be a perfect fit for the Bears' new defense. Regardless of whether Bostic starts this year, expect him rack up the tackles. And study lots of Briggs/Urlacher/Butkus/Singletary film.
Kyle Long, offensive line
Although his offseason workouts have been limited due to academic commitments at Oregon, the son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long has showcased impressive skills. He can play both guard and tackle thanks to his height, quickness and wing span. This is important to a team looking to provide better protection for its star quarterback. Which means K-Cav and baby Cameron are Long's biggest fans.
Michael Ford, running back
Ford was signed as an undrafted free agent after the NFL Draft in April. But he has made quite an impression since being added to the roster in May. He is one of the faster running backs on the team and has electrifying agility. Ford also can contribute on special teams, perhaps filling in as a return man. With Devin Hester and Eric Weems in that role as well, opponents may never kick off or punt to the Bears again.
Gabe Salgado is a RedEye special contributor.
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