When your edge rush position could use as much competition and depth as possible, you’ll seek every opportunity to add talent. That’s exactly what the Bears did when they were among the six NFL teams that attended the Pro Day of former Oregon State outside linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu on Thursday, reports Pro Football Talk.
The 22-year-old Ugwoegbu was set to return to Oregon State for his senior season, but was suspended indefinitely in April due to undisclosed reasons. That prompted Ugwoegbu to bet on himself and declare for the NFL’s supplemental draft, typically held in July. The supplemental draft was created as a means for college football players who are deemed ineligible for the college football season after the NFL’s deadline to enter it’s formal draft has passed in January. This year’s supplemental draft takes place on July 11th. A perfect fit for Ugwoegbu and his predicament..
Unfortunately, Ugwoegbu likely stands a tall task at actually being selected in two weeks. At least, being selected high anyway. The pool of talent is typically small during the supplemental draft and only 40 total players have been drafted since 1977. This is because no NFL team actually has a guaranteed selection. And if they choose to make a pick, it can be costly.
If a team wants to draft someone supplementally, they must submit a bid naming the player they’d like to select and in which round. Then, if their bid came in highest among other suitors, they’re rewarded that player and must summarily forfeit their formal draft pick for the same round the following April. Unless there’s a seemingly special talent, most guys here aren’t getting picked in the first to third rounds.
Ugwoegbu and the underwhelming results of this Pro Day, where he ran a 4.97 40-yard dash and measured in at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, will now be likened to wait. Factor in just 126 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and eight sacks in three seasons, and Ugwoegbu’s resume as a whole doesn’t exactly jump off the page. If not drafted, Ugwoegbu will become an undrafted free agent.
It’s not often you’re going to see a team invest in an outside linebacker of that small and slow stature. Unless someone sees him as a core special teamer. But how many special teamers are you risking valuable draft assets on? Not many. In any event, it doesn’t hurt the Bears to do their due diligence.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and is a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.