Matt who?, I hear you cry. Well, this is quarterback Matt Blanchard who was one of seven players invited to the rookie mini camp on a try out basis. He played his college football at Wisconsin-Whitewater in division three, and I thought it would be good to take a look at a player who has a chance, however slim, of making the roster for the Chicago Bears.
Blanchard is well sized at 6'3 and 217 lbs. After spending one year at Northern Michigan, he transferred to UW-Whitewater where he never lost a game as a starter. In his senior year he threw 23 touchdowns and just under 3000 yards, as well as rushing for 452 yards.
He was not invited to the NFL combine, but did take part in his pro day, with his 40 yard dash being clocked at 4.69.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears like enough of what they saw in Blanchard to offer him a three year contract. This offer was also extended to six other players too.
Head coach Lovie Smith said:
"[Blanchard] did some good things," Lovie Smith said told Chicago Now. "Quarterbacks have an opportunity. They know they're going to get a chance to throw the ball and prove what they can do, and again we did take notice."
How much of a chance Blanchard has in Chicago remains to be seen. Obviously Cutler is the starter with Jason Campbell backing him up. And the Bears also still have Nathan Enderle and Josh McCown on the roster. But he has the opportunity to show what he can do, and if things go his way, he might see himself getting some playing time somewhere down the line.
I just feel excited for someone from a division three college to be given the chance to compete for a roster spot in the NFL. He has nothing to lose, and if he impresses the Bears enough, he might well be make the team.
It might be a name that we quickly forget, or who knows, he might one day be throwing passes at Soldier Field. Either way, he's definitely flying under the radar, but has every chance of making us all take notice.
In the meantime, here's a video: