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NFC North Roster Additions: Bears impress with UDFAs after few picks in 2019 NFL Draft

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With only five draft picks, the Bears nearly signed enough UDFAs to field an entire offense and defense.

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Iowa State vs Washington State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears didn’t have a first-round or second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but when you can turn that first pick (and some others, to be fair) into Khalil Mack, it’s an understandable trade-off. However, they ditched their second-rounder on draft day a year ago to trade up into round two to select wideout Anthony Miller.

Therefore, they’ll hope that their few additions in the draft and the massive number of undrafted free agents they signed will contribute enough to make a deep playoff run, as their first for 2020 will also be in the hands of the Oakland Raiders.

Not picking until round three, the Bears made five total picks in the draft while signing 22 undrafted free agents-- a number that has been reduced to 19 already.

Drafted

  • Round 3: RB David Montgomery, Iowa State
  • Round 4: WR Riley Ridley, Georgia
  • Round 6: DB Duke Shelley, K-State
  • Round 7: RB Kerrith Whyte, Florida; DB Stephen Denmark, Valdosta State

We previously discussed the Bears signing RB Mike Davis to help replace the carries vacated by Jordan Howard, who was traded to the Eagles, and Benny Cunningham (Jaguars), but the Bears proved they weren’t finished at that position. Drafting David Montgomery, a plodder who gained 1,000 yards in his final two seasons at Iowa State feels a little risky, especially considering the Bears moved up from 87 to 73 to grab him, costing an additional 2019 fifth and 2020 fourth to do so. His athletic scoring isn’t particularly impressive and is similar to the aforementioned Howard in terms of style. Not finished at running back, they also added Kerrith Whyte to take another shot at the position late.

Riley Ridley is an interesting prospect for the Bears. He’s an above average route runner, and if he’s anything like his older brother, Calvin Ridley, he should contribute right away. With Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Taylor Gabriel commanding the top three positions on the offense, Ridley should find a role as the fourth guy.

Hoping to add some defensive back depth (because every team should) the Bears went with Duke Shelley and Stephen Denmark. Shelley is bouncing back from a toe injury and can be a backup slot corner for the defense, while Denmark is a converted WR who stands at 6’3”. He’s a player who will need plenty of coaching as he learns to play at the pro level, but big corners make for fun projects.

Undrafted Free Agents

DL Daryle Banfield, OL Alex Bars, LB Matt Betts, OL Blake Blackmar, TE Ian Bunting, DB Clifton Duck, WR Emanuel Hall, DL Jonathan Harris, LB Chuck Harris, WR Thomas Ives, DB Doyin Jibowu, OL Joe Lowery, OL Sam Mustipher, TE Dax Raymond, TE Ellis Richardson, DB Josh Simmons, OL Marquez Tucker, LS John Wirtel, OL Tommy Doles

The player to watch here is Emanuel Hall, who many thought would be drafted. Adding more weapons to the Matt Nagy offense is never a bad thing. Hall caught people’s attention at the combine when he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, posted a 43.5” vertical, and a 141” broad jump. He has the second-highest relative athletic score among wide receivers in this 2019 class. He’ll take some refining, but the raw materials are there. Keep an eye on tight end Dax Raymond as a potential contributor as well.