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NFL Chicago Bears

5 Chicago Bears Dark Horse Players Who Will Make the 53-Man Roster

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5 Chicago Bears Dark Horse Players Who Will Make the 53-Man Roster

Bears
Dennis Wierzbicki USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears are a team with a lot of talented players filling up the first string on both offense and defense. This leaves a great deal of competition for the few available spots on the second string. Through the first two preseason games, we’ve seen a lot of electrifying play by players who were drafted late or even went undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft.

A lot has been made about the new look offense Mark Trestman brings to town. The defense has some minor changes this year, most notably the loss of Brian Urlacher. However, the story that is not being talked about is that 11 of the Bears' 22 starters on defense and offense are in the final year of their contracts. It seems a stretch of the imagination that all 11 of these players will work out a deal in time to set foot on Soldier Field for opening day in 2014.

There are a lot of players fighting through the preseason for the right to spend this year playing on special teams and serving as backups. These guys will play their guts out for the right to hold these lesser jobs in the hopes that this year’s opportunity will become an audition for one of these opening jobs. After some digging and copious notes, I’ve selected five players whose play I think is good enough to make the 53 man roster. Their names will be little known this year, but I suspect they will be challenging for a starting role next year.

Here are my top five picks for Bears' dark horse players who will make the 53-man roster.

Eric Beuning is a Fantasy Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericbeuning or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Marquess Wilson

Bears
Jerry Lai USA TODAY Sports

In the sixth round of this year’s NFL Draft, the Bears grabbed wide receiver Marquess Wilson out of Washington State. He fell as far as he did after clashing with the coaching staff. He also has struggled at times with getting off the jam at the line of scrimmage.

At 6-foot-3, 194 pounds, he’s got the kind of prototypical wide receiver size that most coaches covet. At Washington State, he had the second-most catches and touchdowns in school history. He also catches with his hands, and has speed and vision.

If he can demonstrate more maturity in the film room and in the practice field, he’s got the tools to give Alshon Jeffrey a run for his money.

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4. J.T. Thomas

Bears
Mike Carter USA TODAY Sports

Originally drafted by the Bears in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, J.T. Thomas spent his rookie year on IR after a hip injury. Thomas has had a case of buzzard luck in his career so far with legal issues and injury concerns. He came into this camp this year energized and ready to get his career back on track. He’s listed as a backup linebacker. So far this preseason, he's made the highlight reel by blocking a key punt during the San Diego Chargers game.

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3. Blake Constanzo

Bears
Jeff Hanisch USA TODAY Sports

Blake Costanzo declared for the NFL Draft in 2006 and went undrafted. Eventually, he signed on with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent. He has made his way around the NFL, making stops with the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers. He’s spent most of his career on the practice squad and special teams until the Bears signed him to a two-year deal. In Week 2 of the preseason, he recovered a punt that had been muffed by Keenan Allen.

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2. Josh McCown

Bears
Dennis Wierzbicki USA TODAY Sports

Josh McCown has been a journeyman backup in the NFL through most of his career. In the last two seasons, McCown has played with the Bears late in the season when injury called him into service. The Bears brought in Trent Edwards to compete with McCown for the No. 2 QB spot. McCown has a familiarity with the players, and Trestman feels he is a perfect fit for his system.

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1. Michael Ford

Bears
Dennis Wierzbicki USA TODAY Sports

An undrafted free agent rookie out of LSU, Michael Ford was second in the SEC in kick returns, averaging 27.5 yards per return. He was brought in, however casually, to make Devin Hester feel pushed to perform in a contract year.

Before Michael Ford showed up in camp, it was assumed that Hester could malinger through the season and expect a release to go cash in as a free agent with another team. Or, he could play hard and hit a payday to stay with the Bears' new Trestman regime. Then Michael Ford started blowing everyone’s doors off with his 4.4 speed and the kind of moves that remind us all of Hester’s early days.

The 100-yard return in last week’s game served notice to Hester that there is a hungry young speedster who’s challenging him for his job. Devin had better sharpen his cleats.

Eric Beuning is a Fantasy Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericbeuning or add him to your network on Google.