The Chicago Bears 2022 training camp kicks off later next month. It’ll be an exciting one, too. The Bears roster has undergone a significant makeover in general manager Ryan Poles’ first offseason, as he’s added a blend of rookies and veterans who will compete for starting jobs on both sides of the ball. With a new coaching staff in charge of the depth chart, Chicago will be a meritocracy in 2022.
In this series on Bears Talk, we’ll countdown the days until training camp with player spotlights. First up, safety DeAndre Houston-Carson.
Houston-Carson joined the Bears as a sixth-round pick from William & Mary in the 2016 NFL Draft. He’s appeared in 77 games during his career, with three starts on his resume. Primarily a special teams contributor, Houston-Carson registered a career-high 420 snaps in 2021.
Houston-Carson stood out as one of the Bears’ surprise performers last season. His 78.0 grade from Pro Football Focus was the third-highest mark on Chicago’s defense and the best grade of any defender who logged at least 400 snaps. He finished the season with 51 tackles, one interception, and two fumble recoveries.
The Bears re-signed Houston-Carson to a one-year, $1.77 million deal this offseason.
Before the 2022 NFL Draft, Houston-Carson was considered a favorite to start opposite Eddie Jackson at safety. The Chicago Bears signed free-agent Dane Cruikshank as another veteran to compete for starter’s reps, but DHC’s performance in 2021 made him the leader in the clubhouse.
However, that changed when Chicago spent a second-round pick on Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker. It will be a total shock if Brisker isn’t starting on Week 1. Houston-Carson projects as a top reserve and special teams ace once again. Sure, if he excels at Bears training camp, he could give coach Matt Eberflus something to think about. But it’s doubtful.
Houston-Carson’s roster spot should be safe this season. Is it possible the Bears decide to go younger or prioritize the players added by the new regime? Sure. But Houston-Carson is an experienced veteran with a reliable skill set on a team-friendly contract.
DeAndre Houston-Carson should once again be a leader on special teams and a quality backup for a Chicago Bears team banking on youth and inexperience in 2022.
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today. His NFL Draft and Bears coverage has also been featured on The Draft Network.