The Chicago bears agreed to terms with 26 rookie free agents during the day on Tuesday.
Of those 26, it’s hard to speculate who will end up making it through camp and onto the team’s final 53-man roster.
As I review the list, at the very most, I give five of these guys a shot at actually earning a spot. And that’s probably a stretch. Figure, anywhere between 85-95% of these guys not will not make the cut.
So instead of breaking down each player individually, I’ll point out Chicago Bears Huddle’s top five:
1. Alex Linnenkohl | Center | Oregon State
At 6’-2”, 304 lbs., Alex was project by many as a sixth-round draft pick. He started three seasons at Oregon State, drawing attention due to an unquestioned work ethic and knowledge for the position. Many believe he lacks the size and strength to become a true starter in the NFL, but those are things he can build. Maybe not the most talented rookie free agent the Bears picked up, but given their need at the position, he may have the best shot at earning a spot.
2. Dane Sanzenbacher | WR | Ohio State
So, if Linnenkohl isn’t the most talented guy the Bears signed on Tuesday, who is? That would probably be Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher. Actually, I hope he doesn’t make the roster simply because I don’t feel like learning how to spell his last name … But I digress. Dane was projected by some to go as early as the third-round in the 2011 draft, making him an incredible value as an undrafted rookie. Make no mistake; Dane has what it takes to become a back-up receiver in the NFL. And that is no insult. At 5’-11”, 182 lbs., he does not have the size the Bears need, but he is a very solid route runner and always seems to find ways to get separation from defensive backs. Earning a roster spot as a wide receiver is going to be tough going these next few weeks, but I honestly think Dane has a shot.
3. Andre Smith | TE | Virginia Tech
There is one reason Smith lands at three instead of four for us. And it has nothing to do with his performance. But rather the history of the guy I wanted to put before him. But we’ll get to that in a second. Smith has great value in the running game and has been touted as a great run-blocking tight end. He has good size at 6’-4”, 270 lbs., and is very experienced on special teams. Given his work ethic and playing style, Smith appears to be a really decent fit for the Bears. His future really depends on how many tight ends the Bears chose to hang onto. Dez Clark will be gone and if the Bears hold four positions at TE, Smith could squeeze onboard.
4. Josh Davis | OT | Georgia
Davis is huge. At 6’-7”, 313 lbs., he’s a beast. He’s known as a scrapper with a mean streak. And I like offensive linemen with a mean streak. So do the Bears. The bottom line with Josh is his health history is scary. It’s the reason he falls to fourth on this list. Smith had one red-shirt year due to injury, an eight-game season due to injury, multiple shoulder surgeries and missed his only bowl game due to a sprained ankle. The durability issues will have to be squashed – at least somewhat – before any team will consider adding Davis to the final roster.
5. Ryan Jones | CB | Missouri State
Jones was projected to be an early sixth-round draft choice but ultimately went undrafted. He runs a decent 4.46 40 time. To put it simple, Jones made plays at Missouri State. In 2009 he had 41 solo tackles, five interceptions and 11 pass break-ups. Ryan is also an experienced special teams player and that will certainly help his cause. He has issues with regard to positional instincts. He’s been noted as a player who appears to think too much on the field, as opposed to reacting. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but he’s got a shot.
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