clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bears sign defensive back John Franklin III

The Bears take a chance on an unproven undrafted free agent with a sky-high athletic ceiling.

NCAA Football: North Texas at Florida Atlantic
John Franklin III will be looking to make an impact in the NFL with the Bears.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears have signed defensive back John Franklin III, he confirmed on Twitter. He had taken part in the team’s rookie minicamp over the weekend.

Franklin, 23, is best known for being one of the main characters on the Netflix original series Last Chance U, a series about NFL hopefuls who attempt to overcome major red flags.

Born in Germany, Franklin was a three-star recruit as a dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school. He committed to Florida State, and won an ACC championship there as a member of the school’s 4x100 relay track team. After redshirting his freshman year in 2013 and seeing little action in 2014, he transferred to East Mississippi Community College, where he starred on Last Chance U. He spent one season there before transferring to Auburn, where he started one game at quarterback. He transferred yet again in 2017, this time to Florida Atlantic, where he played wide receiver. He ended up with just seven receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown, but he scored two rushing touchdowns and ran for 229 yards on 16 carries.

The move to defensive back marks three position changes in three years for Franklin. At 6’1” and 184 pounds, he has good length for the position. He reportedly ran a 4.19 40-yard dash in a workout, but he ended up with a 4.40 40-yard dash at Florida Atlantic’s pro day.

The combination of athleticism and size that Franklin possesses is intriguing, even if his constant transferring and changing positions raise some questions about his future in the NFL. Given the influx of talented players the Bears brought in at defensive back in after the draft this year, it’s unlikely that Franklin will make the 53-man roster. With a good showing at camp and in the preseason, though, he could be an interesting addition to the practice squad.