Friday night at Bank Of America Stadium, the Chicago Bears will battle Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. The stars for the Bears and Panthers will only play limited snaps. The rookies and other unproven players will get a big chance to prove why they should make the 53-man roster.
With 90 players currently on the Bears roster their will be plenty of players to pay attention to.
Here's my top five Bears players to watch on Friday night in Carolina:
He is competing for the starting nickelback job now that Kelvin Hayden (torn left hamstring) is officially out for the season. He has been consistently making plays throughout training camp. This is a big opportunity for the second-year man out of Nevada. He spent last season on the practice squad after being drafted in the sixth-round. He was a three-year starter (2008-11) for the Wolfpack, making seven interceptions, 38 pass deflections and two forced fumbles in that span. Expect Frey to play extensively on Friday night.
The Bears needed to add some young talent at linebacker with the departure of Brian Urlacher this off-season. So, they added University of Florida linebacker Jon Bostic in the second-round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Bostic is one of six new linebackers brought into the windy city. A couple of weeks ago Bostic was "just looking to make the team." Now with veteran middle linebacker D.J. Williams week-to-week with a calf injury, Bostic has a realistic shot of being the starting middle linebacker. He will get to play a large portion of Friday night's game as the starter in the middle.
The rookie wide receiver out of Washington State put up huge numbers for the Cougars. He finished his college football career first in school-history with 3,207 yards which was ninth-most in Pac-12 history. At 6'3", 194 lbs he has the size and speed to develop into a very solid receiver. He ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in February. If he can prove his worth during these four preseason games he could easily earn a spot on the 53-man roster. If not the Bears could always stash the seventh-round pick on the practice squad.
The second-year Boise State product is looking to take the next step in 2013. He has bulked up and added around eight pounds of muscle since the end of last season. The Bears' first-round selection last season appeared in 14 games making 14 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2012. He is listed as a co-starter with Corey Wootton opposite veteran Julius Peppers. With Peppers likely not in uniform Friday and Wootton likely playing limited snaps, McClellin will certainly be in line for plenty of playing time. Here's to hoping he will be a big impact in 2013. The Bears need McClellin to fill the void left by Israel Idonije.
The 6'6" tight end could have a tough time making the roster after the addition of veteran Leonard Pope. Onobun, 26, has already played for six teams in three seasons. The former basketball player has rare athletic ability and has flashed it plenty during practices so far. But with Martellus Bennett, Steve Maneri and Leonard Pope all proven veterans ahead of him on the depth chart, he faces long odds. He will have to put it all together during the preseason or he could be out of a job rather soon.
Honorable Mentions: LB Khaseem Greene, CB Zackary Bowman, DT Corey Irvin, T Eben Britton, RB Armando Allen.
Jake Perper is the founder and head writer of Bearsbacker.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Chicago Bears.