The Chicago Bears supplemented their draft by adding more youth with their 2016 priority free agents on Saturday shortly after the 2016 NFL Draft concluded.
In a mad dash to the phone to try and one up the rest of the league in securing their favorite UDFA targets the Bears managed to do quite well actually. This list looks like it might include several new Bears to stay for the 2016 season either by making the 53 man roster or the Bears practice squad.
I will try to get you…the reader, more familiar with these young men and what they have to offer in the way of competition to muscle their way on the final 53 man roster.
Joe Sommers, TE; (Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
Sommers is physically underdeveloped but has the frame to easily put on about 10 more pounds and maintain his current athleticism which would put him at 6’3″ and around 250-255. Has a little speed in the mid 4.6 range in the 40. Sommers is a little stiff in the hips but runs good routes and seems to have a high football IQ and has a good pair of hands. He’s able to easily catch it on the run in stride and maximize yardage. Plays with a physical mentality as he seeks out contact and as you will see on the video I posted he loves to block. Has a real chance to be a move tight end and really contribute in the run game as an H-back. Has the mentality to make the team by making an impression on special teams which is a must for low rounders and undrafted free agents.
Has a little speed in the mid 4.6 range in the 40. Sommers is a little stiff in the hips but runs good routes and seems to have a high football IQ and has a good pair of hands. He’s able to easily catch it on the run in stride and maximize yardage. Plays with a physical mentality as he seeks out contact and as you will see on the video I posted he loves to block. Has a real chance to be a move tight end and really contribute in the run game as an H-back. Has the mentality to make the team by making an impression on special teams which is a must for low rounders and undrafted free agents.
Has a real chance to be a move tight end and really contribute in the run game as an H-back. Has the mentality to make the team by making an impression on special teams which is a must for low rounders and undrafted free agents.
Ben Braunecker, TE; (Harvard)
In Braunecker the Bears have a smart, tough, and athletic move tight end prospect. His nickname is Bronk because of his blend of physicality and athleticism although not nearly Gronks size nor with Rob Gronkowski’s length. He was required to be a run blocker at Harvard so he will make some plays as an H-back and loves to bock and does it with tremendous physicality. Bronk encompasses Pace and Fox’s profile of both a smart and tough football player. Runs crisp routes with some pop in his hips and has good hands with a fearless approach. Seeks out contact and can be a real seam buster for the Bears with some big plays in the middle of the field, as well as become a core mainstay on special teams.
OL Dan Buchholz (Duquesne) Got to be honest I couldn’t find much on this kid. I did find a youtube video and the quick look I took Was of some lumbering oaf who didn’t have much size and by the looks of his build should be much quicker. I expect him to be in the group of first cuts out of camp. Kind of surprised he was signed as a UDFA to be honest. My apologies to anyone who has close ties to Mr. Buscholz, but it looks like his thrill of being a Bear will be very short lived. Hey it’s more than any of the rest of us can say.
Adrian Bellard, OL; (Texas State)
Bellard is certainly decorated that’s for sure. Started all 12 games in 2015 and registered 56.5 knockdown blocks and didn’t give up a sack all season long. He was chosen to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl which is the all star game for small school players and probably where he made an impression on the Bears staff. Bellard is your classic mauler who has a pretty impressive kick slide too. The video I included is one of Texas State playing Florida State so the competition is certainly top notch. He’s #64 in the video. Played both right tackle, and left tackle in this game for some reason, but don’t envision him playing left tackle in the NFL although he did look impressive
The video I included is one of Texas State playing Florida State so the competition is certainly top notch. He’s #64 in the video. Played both right tackle, and left tackle in this game for some reason, but don’t envision him playing left tackle in the NFL although he did look impressive on this video. Looks like he’s a guard at the next level, but I would not discount Right tackle, so he offers positional versatility. Bellard has a chance in my opinion. Intriguing player.
John Kling, OL; (Buffalo)
At 6’7″ and 315 Kling is a big man which earned him the nickname Kling Kong. For a big man shows enough athleticism to play at the NFL level. As big as he is he isn’t even near as big and strong as he will be. Put up some nice combine numbers, and showed some nimble feet in drills. Kling is an intriguing prospect and may get on the practice squad in a red shirt season to build strength and learn his position likely right tackle.
Don Cherry, LB; (Villanova)
Cherry is another interesting prospect I think has a real chance to make the roster. Cherry is a classic inside linebacker who played the Mike and made all the calls and was the unquestioned leader of Villanova’s defense. Has good sideline to sideline speed, and once he diagnoses a play has a closing burst to finish off running backs and quarterbacks looking to run the ball. Really gets behind his pads to lower the boom. He’s a wrap-up tackler with text book form. very rarely has a missed tackle. A Good blitzer especially on delayed A-gap blitzes, but have seen him loop around to attack from the edge. Not athletic enough to be able to turn and run with running backs and tight ends as he’s a bit stiff so he’s likely a 2 down backer. Might be able to play in a zone, but don’t see him as a good man cover backer. Will be a beast on special teams and if he makes the team it will probably be on the strength of his special teams play.
Roy Robertson-Harris, DE/LB; (UTEP)
Bears got one of the most coveted player in the UDFA market. From various reports the Bears had to fight off near abouts 40 different phones calls from 40 different people including the Packers and the Vikings, but in the it was the conversations he has with outside linebacker coach Clint Hurtt tat sealed the deal. Hurtt continues his excellent recruiting that he brought over from the Louisville program. Not only are the Bears getting a physical specimen 6’7″ 260 with speed, and Athleticism they are also getting a kid that hustles on the football field as evidence by his now famous run down of a running back 80 yards down the field. He’s also a former team captain with TCU and rings that to the table as well. Robertson-Harris is a big win for this organization.
Nate Meier, DE; (Iowa)
Meier is a try hard kid who worked his ass off to get to where he’s at. Came to Iowa as a running back and than was moved to linebacker where he played there as a pass rush specialist n a sub package Iowa used called Raider. He eventually became a full time defensive end with the Hawkeyes and put up some very good numbers in a major conference the produced many NFL players. (76 tkls/61/2 sacks, 10.5 TFL/1 FF). However his size and lack of athleticism to offset his physical limitations won’t offer much at the next level other than a practice squad journeyman.At best he may get the thrill of playing a game or two as a special teams injury replacement player before moving on to the career his Iowa education allows him to have.
Ben Lecompte, P; (North Dakota State)
LeCompte has built him up a nice little resume:
- 2015 STATS All-America First Team
2015 FCS ADA All-America First Team
- 2015 AP All-America Second Team
- 2015 College Sporting News Fab 50 All-America
- 2015 College Sporting News Special Teams Player of the Year
Lecompte also achieved many more accolades during his career with the Bisons. I am not a punter expert nor do I profess to be, but he seems like he has himself a leg on him and can give the Bears veteran incumbent Pat O’Donnell a run for his money. Especially offering versatility as he has place kicked and does kickoffs too. Here’s his NDSU profile for more.
Darrin Peterson, WR; (Liberty)
Teammate of the Quarterback I wanted the Bears to sign Josh Woodrum Peterson has some interesting traits. Has some size at 6’1″ 203 and some speed running just under 4.5 with some explosive numbers like 35″ Vertical and a 10’2″ broad jump. He also has experience playing in a pro-style offense where he did some sight adjustments with audibles and check with me’s at the line. He’ll have to win on special teams as all UDFA’s do, but I think this kid can really make a run at this roster. I’ll be anxious to monitor his progress.
Kevin Peterson, CB; (Oklahoma State)
Was ranked as pro football focus’ number 7 best UDFA and ranked 94th overall and 12th best cornerback on their big board pre-draft. Peterson is a highly competitive and confident corner. Profiles as a slot corner with a rather diminutive size at 5’10” 181, but plays bigger and with a lot of aggression. Had a great senior season being named all big-12 despite coming off a knee surgery pre-season and playing through a nagging ankle injury throughout his 2015 season which shows how much the game means to him and is testament his toughness and resolve. Antrel Rolle are you paying attention? He was projected to be drafted in the the 6th round range. Has a high football IQ and is aware in zone and will take on anyone in press on the outside and in the run game.
Taveze Calhoun, CB; (Mississippi State)
Calhoun is a sign I’m not all that thrilled with. I don’t hate it, but the tape I saw was a bad one. Particularly unimpressive is his Alabama draft breakdown cut up. Played primarily off coverage to likely offset his lack of skill to handle top level competition. When he came up to tackle I didn’t see a balls out effort. Especially when Henry came his way. A lot of people like him though so what do I know. Pro football focus had him ranked as their 19th best UDFA player. Perhaps he can make an impression on special teams.
Robert Porter, CB; (Jackson State)
Porter is a guy with a lot of physical traits that may suit the team well. He can run with a 4.48 40, and jump with a 36″ vertical and just under a 10′ broad jump. He has cat-like quickness too. It does not take him long to get to full speed. His 10-yard split is a crazy 1.59. That’s moving right off the bat. Porter is an aggressive player. Loves to mix it up. Seemed to get under the skin of a few wide receivers meaning he probably harassed them on every down. Does not take a play off. Has the size of a nickel back, but has a little thickness to him. Body wise reminds me of former Bears cornerback Tim Jennings (minus the 4.3 speed) with the same kind of physical demeanor. Should serve him well on special teams.
Derek Keaton, WR/KR; (Georgia Southern)
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