The Chicago Bears have concluded their three-day rookie mini-camp, and while the Xs&Os on-field stuff was limited, it still gave the coaching staff a good look at their entire rookie class plus plenty of try-out players. It also gave the rookies an idea of what to expect now that they’re professionals.
The next time the Bears get together at Halas Hall will be on May 20th when they kick off a voluntary OTA. So whether you’re betting on NFL games or betting on who the next kicker will be for the Bears, I’ll give you guys my picks for winners/losers from this weekend and you guys do the same in our comment section.
- Duke Shelley - Chicago’s sixth-round draft pick saw his stock plummet when a toe injury limited him to seven games as a senior at Kansas State, but the 5’9”, 180 pounder has made a good early impression, not only with his teammates that chanted his name at practice, but also with is head coach.
“He’s quick-twitch,” head coach Matt Nagy said via chicagobears.com. “He was out here doing some special-teams drills early on and you could just really feel the energy and how quick he is making his moves and then doing some DB drills flipping his hips real quick, turning over and then actually finishing with the catch.”
- Riley Ridley - It was a bit of a surprise that the Bears plucked a wide out in the fourth-round, especially with such a stacked receiver room, but Ridley was too good a value to pass up. After Saturday’s practice Nagy talked about his strong start to camp. “I thought he looked good, not a lot of mental errors.”
Learning the Bears playbook is a daunting task for any rookie, but learning the receiver position can be a challenge.
Riley was known as a route running technician at Georgia, and with his big brother (Calvin Ridley) already playing in the league, that will give him an edge on what to expect in the professional ranks.
- Chris Blewitt and Elliott Fry - Blewitt and Fry and the only kickers left after a weekend of near-circus shenanigans in what is only phase one in finding their 2019 kicker. The Bears could still elect to add a leg or two for training camp, but for now it’ll be these two trying to earn the right to be the guy many fans want to see fail so Ryan Pace could go get Robbie Gould.
EDIT: Now that the Bears traded for Eddy Pineiro, that makes Blewitt and Fry closer to the loser category, but since they’re still under contract I’ll keep them with the winners for now.
- The fullback position - The Bears currently don’t have a fullback on the roster, and when looking at the potential from the running backs, receivers, and tight ends currently signed, I don’t think they’ll add one. I think the Bears ultimately roll with an extra playmaker over a traditional fullback.
- Chicago radio callers that can’t talk about K-see B-ehd-naaaar-skeee - Casey Bednarski capped his try-out weekend by winning a Sunday kickoff against Redford Jones, which prompted a celebratory back-flip, but after practice he was notified that he wouldn’t be receiving a contract to continue on with the Bears. According to the beat writers that were in attendance over the weekend, Bednarski was one of the stronger kicking contenders, so it was surprising to see him go.
There’s still a chance he returns for another offseason kicking competition, but for now it’s a sad day for Chicago radio callers.