A four-year player at San Jose State University, it'd be more than fair to call Isaiah Irving a hard worker, a player who grinds, and someone you can count on: a role player.
Irving, in playing for a non-powerhouse football school such as San Jose State, never wholly impressed as a highly-touted dominant edge rusher. Aside from a 2016 senior season where he was an honorable mention on the All-Mountain West team (7 sacks, 11 tackles for loss), he never consistently stuffed the stat sheet or even took over a game either. Instead, he just did his job, which in the grand scheme of things may have meant the most to him and his team at the probable apex of his football career.
Now, the inexperienced Irving will have to make the transition to the NFL with the Chicago Bears. A slow build to eventual production at the professional level like he did in college isn't out of the question. It's whether he'll even have the consistent opportunity to attempt to get better over time in the same fashion.
Weight: 255 pounds
Contract and salary cap
As an undrafted free agent attempting to carve out his place with the Bears, Irving is currently working on a contract with no guaranteed money. According to Over The Cap, he signed a three-year deal with the Bears worth $1,665,000 in total. Should he make Chicago's roster, he will earn $465,000 in 2017. Irving has no signing bonuses.
Reason for improvement in 2017
Simply put, it can only get better for Irving once the Bears hit Bourbonnais. A non-polished prospect such as him has all the room in the world to improve and make his mark. As an outside linebacker with some pass-rushing ability, one could make the case for Irving to find his way onto the Bears roster considering the relative lack of current trust Chicago can place into it's edge group. However, Irving is a less-than-impressive athlete gauging off of his Combine and Pro Day numbers such as a 4.87 40-yard dash, so he'll have to do it on the strength of his work ethic. A simple task for a guy whose done that his entire career.
Reason for regression in 2017
While you could maintain that the Bears have a lot of question marks in their edge group, which leaves openings for players such as Irving, that would be on a more professional scale. Meaning, guys who could logistically take a job on the bottom of the roster after Leonard Floyd, Pernell McPhee, Willie Young, and Lamarr Houston. Given that Floyd is currently the only speed rusher Chicago possesses, it would behoove a player looking for a job to provide that skill set. Unfortunately, that's not Irving's game as more of an average athlete with average bend around the edge. Camp in Bourbonnais may prove to be a tough slog unless he can consistently find a way around the Bears' offensive tackles.
Final roster odds
Irving is a fine "football guy" in how he continually plugs away with not much other talent going for him. But therein lies the problem: an already fringe roster player needs more than hard work, something most other guys in the same position provide. Irving has a dearth of of athleticism and ultimately that will cost him barring a spectacular showing during training camp. It's highly unlikely the Bears retain him following final roster cuts.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is an editor for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.