The undrafted free agent market is always exciting to watch unfold, as the dreams from hundreds of players get a shot of adrenalin as they get to keep working towards their ultimate goal of playing in the National Football League.
The Chicago Bears quickly went to work as soon as the 2021 NFL Draft ended in plugging some depth holes along their offseason roster. Sure the odds are steep that these guys can make the final cut, let alone the practice squad, but each year there seems to be a few that make an impact.
While we heard about several signings in the hours after the draft, the Bears finally announced their UDFA class of 2021 today. I had to get some help with details for these unheralded prospects from our Lead Draft Analyst, Jacob Infante.
- Scooter Harrington, TE, Stanford
A big-bodied tight end with very little experience as a pass-catcher and limited athletic ability, Harrington projects more as a camp body. ~ Infante
- Gage Cervenka, OL, Clemson (2019 UDFA)
A powerful and experienced starter for Clemson, Cervenka has some tools to compete for a roster spot, but will spending the 2020 season out of football prove to be a hindrance to him? ~ Infante
- Gunnar Vogel, OL, Northwestern
Vogel is a big-bodied and a powerful blocker with enough length to play at tackle at the next level, but his athletic ceiling may not be high enough for him to gain a roster spot on a team with plenty of offensive linemen fighting for a spot. ~ Infante
- Dareuan Parker, OL, Mississippi State
As a bulky and powerful guard prospect with two years of starting experience in the SEC, Parker should fight for a roster spot but may ultimately lose out to players with more experience with the organization or players of higher pedigree. ~ Infante
- C.J. Marable, RB, Coastal Carolina
Marable is a shifty back with intriguing potential as a pass-catcher. Elusive in the open field with a low center of gravity, he changes direction well and runs with a tough edge. He faces an uphill battle to make the active roster, but he should stick around in the organization. ~ Infante
- Khalil McClain, WR, Troy
McClain is a big-bodied receiver who projects best on the boundary. It’s unlikely he makes it past the practice squad, but his raw size could make him a piece worth keeping an eye on. ~ Infante
- Brian Johnson, K, Virginia Tech
Johnson gives the Bears another camp body to try and push Cairo Santos, but given the veteran’s recent extension and his impressive 2020 season, the rookie seems like a longshot to make the team. ~ Infante
- Dionte Ruffin, CB, Western Kentucky
Ruffin is undersized, but he’s a solid athlete and put up solid ball production in the secondary for Western Kentucky over the last two seasons. He could use the preseason to either sneak on the roster or secure a practice squad role. ~ Infante
- Sam Kamara, DL, Stony Brook
With tweener size and coming off of no 2020 season, Kamara could face an uphill battle to make the active roster. However, with how productive he was at Stony Brook as a pass-rusher, he could compete for a practice squad role as an interior defender. ~ Infante
- Thomas Schaffer, DL, Stanford
Schaffer is a local prospect who played high school in Lake Forest, and he brings great length to the table as a 3-technique defensive tackle prospect. The battle to make the active roster will be tough, but he could stick as a practice squad player if he shows up in camp. ~ Infante
- Charles Snowden, LB, Virginia
Probably my favorite UDFA signing the Bears made this year, Snowden brings a lengthy frame with impressive athletic ability, agility in space and a high ceiling as both a run defender and a pass-rusher. Had it not been for a season-ending ankle injury, he likely would have been an early Day 3 selection. He stands a legitimate chance of making it onto the active roster. ~ Infante
- Caleb Johnson, LB, Houston Baptist
Johnson is a lengthy and athletic linebacker who was productive for Houston Baptist. If a player like Josh Woods or Joel Iyiegbuniwe disappoints in the preseason and in training camp, a toolsy prospect like him could usurp them on the roster. ~ Infante
- Daniel Archibong, DL, Temple
Lengthy and powerful with a lanky frame and strong hands at the point of attack, Archibong is a player I had my eyes on as a priority undrafted free agent late in the pre-draft process. He should be able to compete for a roster spot as a backup 3-technique. ~ Infante
The Bears also announced that they signed a couple 1st year pros that were around the NFL a bit in 2020.
- Rojestman Farris II, CB, Hawaii
A lengthy cornerback with good ball production in college, Farris had a solid collegiate career but didn’t have much of a chance to shine without a preseason on the Falcons last year. He projects best as a camp body. ~ Infante
- Michael Pinckney, ILB, Miami (Fla.)
A four-year starter at the University of Miami, Pinckney was incredibly productive at the collegiate level. He finished his time with the Hurricanes with 267 total tackles, 42 tackles for a loss and 14.5 sacks. Known as a downhill thumper with a good feel for the game and a willingness to lower his shoulder on an opponent, Pinckney served as an enforcer of sorts for Miami’s defense. ~ Infante
What are your thoughts on these guys making an impact in Chicago?