Assessing Chicago's DE depth

A quick glance at Chicago’s defensive depth chart reveals why general manager Jerry Angelo was so eager to acquire defensive end Gaines Adams last fall.

After absorbing the shock of Adams’ death Sunday morning, the Bears are left with a thin group of incumbents to craft a starting lineup for 2010. Below are the five players on their roster as of Monday. And that list includes 2009 third-round draft pick Jarron Gilbert, who practiced mostly at tackle during the season.

As you can see, Adams would have had every opportunity to compete for a starting job next season. Veteran Alex Brown, who turns 31 this year, is a likely starter on one side. But Adewale Ogunleye will be 33 and is a pending free agent. Mark Anderson will either be a restricted or unrestricted free agent, depending on whether the NFL moves to an uncapped system.

Without a first- or second-round pick in the 2010 draft, the Bears will have limited options to add talent to one of the most difficult positions to develop in the NFL. As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes, the Bears have little choice but to count on Gilbert and/or Henry Melton as significant contributors next season.