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Players to watch in preseason opener

Posted Aug 8, 2014

Even after the Bears' established starters exit tonight's preseason opener against the Eagles, there are several intriguing players to watch.

Most of the Bears’ established starters will see limited action in tonight’s preseason opener against the Eagles at Soldier Field. But after they exit, there will be several intriguing players to watch. Here are three on both sides of the ball to monitor:

Chris Williams

The former CFL star is pushing veteran Eric Weems for the third receiver position as well as the punt return job. Williams is quick and explosive, but he’s also small. At 5-8 and 175 pounds, how durable will Williams be in the NFL when he’s getting trucked over the middle by linebackers who are bigger, stronger and faster than their counterparts in the CFL?

Shaun Draughn

Draughn is the most experienced of the running backs battling for the No. 2 spot behind starter Matt Forte, having played in 20 NFL games the past three seasons with the Chiefs and Ravens. Currently listed second on the depth chart, Draughn must excel running with the ball, catching passes out of the backfield and picking up blitzes while also contributing on special teams. Draughn will be pushed by Michael Ford and rookies Ka’Deem Carey and Senorise Perry.

Jordan Palmer

Locked in a battle for the backup quarterback position with Jimmy Clausen, Palmer must perform well when he takes over for Jay Cutler tonight against the Eagles. Some reporters who’ve covered training camp have written that Clausen has looked sharper in Bourbonnais than Palmer. Both reserves likely will see action against second and third defenses in the preseason so coaches can evaluate them on a level playing level.

Shea McClellin

After two less-than-productive seasons at defensive end, McClellin was moved to linebacker to take advantage of his speed and athleticism. The 2012 first-round draft pick has shown both in training camp, but how will he fare when he faces another team’s offense instead of the one he sees every day in practice? The first big test comes tonight against Chip Kelly’s frenetically-paced attack that hung over 50 points on the Bears last season.

Trevor Scott

An unheralded seven-year veteran, Scott has consistently shown excellent pass rush ability in training camp and could be in line to be the Bears’ fourth defensive end behind Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young. Scott recorded 12 sacks for the Raiders during his first two NFL seasons in 2008-09 before a torn ACL derailed his career. He’s the type of solid pro who could record multiple sacks against inexperienced backups tonight.

Adrian Wilson

A big, physical strong safety, Wilson was selected to five Pro Bowls in 12 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. But after missing the entire 2013 campaign with a foot problem, the 34-year-old must prove that he’s still an intimidating presence in the secondary who still has something left in the tank. With a wide-open competition at safety, Wilson has a golden opportunity to earn a starting job with the Bears as long as his body holds up.

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