As we wait for the Chicago Bears to announce their 2017 undrated free agent class, let’s take a peek back at one of their UDFAs from 2015. When the Bears signed Illinois State’s Cameron Meredith back then, I doubt many fans thought he’d be able to find a place on the 53 man roster, but when number one draft pick, Kevin White, found his way on the PUP list, a door was cracked for the former Redbird.
Meredith, who began his collegiate career as a quarterback, had to prove himself as a young receiver and he made an immediate impact, catching four balls for 47 yards in his preseason debut. He ended his preseason with nine receptions for 86 yards, and that coupled with a strong training camp, he opened the season with the Bears.
Injuries led to him getting playing time as rookie, and he made his debut during week two, that saw him grab three catches for 36 yards. His rookie season, he definitely looked like a rookie at times, but he managed to play in 11 games, making 11 receptions for 120 yards. That first year he played in 136 offensive snaps (12.6%) and 30 snaps (6.6%) on special teams.
He began the 2016 season on the 53 man roster, but he wasn’t active until week three. Once he got in the field, he still had some youth to his game, but as the season progressed, I really enjoyed watching him tighten up his play on a week to week basis. He played in Chicago’s remaining 14 games, making 10 starts along the way. His offensive playing time increased to a position leading 703 snaps (69.5%), and he was used sparingly in the third phase (3 snaps). His 66 receptions, 888 yards and 4 touchdowns led the team. He added one rush for six yards and he even threw a two yard touchdown pass late in the season.
Just two years ago, Meredith was a virtual unknown, just fighting to sneak on to the bottom of the Bears depth chart, but now he heads into the 2017 season as Chicago’s de facto #1 receiver. The Bears signed a couple veteran wide outs to try and replace the production of the departed Alshon Jeffery, and Kevin White will be back after his second season ending injury to give the offense a boost.
But don’t be surprised if it’s the soon to be 24 year old Meredith that ends up leading the Bears in receiving again.
Check out this video breakdown of Meredith's game, from the guys over at Inside The Pylon.