The Bears announced their first practice squad of the year on Wednesday, one day after they cut down to their 53-man roster. They’ve only got 11 guys on the practice squad now, and one of those guys carries an international player exemption, so there’s still room to add six more players. Here’s who the Bears opted to keep around to develop in their initial wave of practice squad signings:
MICAH BASKERVILLE - LINEBACKER
Baskerville ascended a bit from unheralded UDFA to backup middle linebacker when Tremaine Edmunds was hurt. Matt Eberflus said the team wanted to further assess how Baskerville can command the defense as the MIKE when asked about his progress earlier this month.
TRAVIS BELL - DEFENSIVE TACKLE
When the Bears selected Bell in the seventh round of this year’s draft, GM Ryan Poles called him one of his favorite humans. For that reason alone, Bell was a practice squad shoo-in.
ROBERT BURNS - FULLBACK
The Bears were never going to keep two fullbacks on their roster, but Burns was impressive throughout the summer. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield was particularly impressive given his position.
STEPHEN CARLSON - TIGHT END
For awhile it looked like Carlson had a shot to make the team as the third tight end and a special teams contributor. That went out the window when the Bears signed Marcedes Lewis.
AVIANTE COLLINS - OFFENSIVE TACKLE
Collins joined the Bears at the outset of camp and took some reps with the second-string offensive line.
DEMARQUIS GATES - LINEBACKER
The Bears kept Gates over other linebackers throughout the summer, despite Gates’ lengthy injury absence, because of his special teams prowess.
JALEN HARRIS - DEFENSIVE END
The 2023 undrafted free agent was a longshot to make the roster this year, but he obviously showed enough to stick around. It’s always good to have pass rush depth waiting in the wings in case of emergency, too.
ROY MBAETEKA - OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
Mbaeteka is a Nigerian player who joined the team this May as part of the International Player Pathway Program. Now he gets the chance to continue his development with the team. Since Mbaeteka is an international player, he doesn’t count towards the Bears’ 16 player limit.
GREG STROMAN JR. - CORNERBACK
Stroman is entering his sixth year in the league and second with the Bears. Last year he played in two games with one start and intercepted one pass. A good guy to have around in case injuries hit the cornerbacks room hard.
NSIMBA WEBSTER - WIDE RECEIVER
The Bears claimed Webster off waivers after cut down day in 2021. He played four games that year as a punt returner, but didn’t make much of an impact. He played two games last season and caught two balls for 14 yards.
KENDALL WILLIAMSON - SAFETY
Williamson's best shot was to make the 53-man roster with special teams play, and he apparently did not do enough to earn a job. As a 2023 seventh-round draft pick though, the Bears will continue to work with him to see how he improves throughout the year.