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Spotlight On UDFA Chuck Harris/OLB


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Chicago Bears: Why Chuck Harris is a sleeper to make the roster

The Chicago Bears signed a number of quality undrafted free agents, including Chuck Harris who is impressing the coaches.

It wasn’t that long ago when the Chicago Bears were scraping the bottom of the barrel for undrafted free agents. Since those players that go undrafted have the freedom to choose where they are going to sign among interested teams, the Bears were always behind the eight-ball.

They had not been a desirable destination for many reasons — namely their poor record, and lackluster atmosphere. In other words, they were bad and boring — a dangerous combination.

However, that changed dramatically this season. The team was able to land a number of undrafted free agents who could have and were even anticipated, to be drafted. That’s a testament to the culture the organization has built in a short amount of time.

One such undrafted free agent that offers a lot of intrigue and has been impressing the coaching staff, is outside linebacker Chuck Harris out of the University of Buffalo.

Harris was a candidate we identified prior to the draft as someone whom the Bears could take a flier on late, or sign as an undrafted free agent.

He’s similar in stature to his fellow UB alumnus, Khalil Mack, both of whom stand 6-foot-3, though Harris comes in about 11 pounds lighter at 236. Ironically, both Mack and Harris only received one Division I scholarship offer and it was from the University of Buffalo.

He’s a tenacious pass rusher with a variety of moves and is someone who can beat you in a number of ways, though his bull rush is his best move. In only 11 games his senior year, he totaled a career-high 6.5 sacks. However, he is a relative newcomer to the game, having only played organized football for seven years. Therefore, he’s a bit of a blank canvas who can be molded by the Bears’ staff.

And it appears Harris has caught the eye of defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano in a limited amount of time. Through rookie mini-camp and OTAs (albeit a small sample size), Harris has stood out to Pagano as one of two UDFAs who have impressed him the most.

Interestingly, the other player he identified was also an outside linebacker, which leads into the primary reason Harris could be a sleeper to stick on this roster following training camp.

The Bears unsurprisingly picked up the fifth-year option on Leonard Floyd, which was a no-brainer. However, whether they re-sign him after this season is far from a certainty. In fact, the Bears have a number of players who are potentially better candidates for extensions.

Whether they re-sign Floyd will depend on whether he takes the next step in his development this year. If he doesn’t, the team could look to try to replace his production with a much cheaper option. However, there is currently very little depth at the position on the roster. Outside of Aaron Lynch, there isn’t much unless you expect Isaiah Irving or Joel Iyiegbuniwe to make a leap this season.

Consequently, it is not outside the realm of possibility that the Bears decide to keep Harris on the roster in the hopes that he can develop into the potential replacement for Floyd. If he keeps performing the way he has and continues to impress, he might just find himself on the roster after the team breaks from camp.


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I wanted to spotlight the second of two UDFA OLB/Edge rookies who at the very least have a shot at making the PS.

Again, the reason is quite simple.  We signed Aaron Lynch to a one year deal again to provide a 3rd player in the rotation who'll compete with Isiah Irving and Kylie Fitts for his roster spot but experienced depth is still thin if any of the top three are lost to an injury.

Pace also has a decision to make regarding an extension for Leonard Floyd prior to next March when his 5th year option salary will kick in and he's guaranteed $13.22 mil.  Undoubtedly Pace won't want that kind of cap hit to deal with so an extension offer seems likely provided Floyd continues to progress in 2019 and become a more consistent threat as an edge rusher.

But even then given the cost of Mack's contract will we be able to come to an agreement with Floyd on a long term extension?

With two 2nd round picks in 2020 we could certainly use one on and Edge Rusher if necessary but if we are able to extend Floyd we'll need some very inexpensive depth behind him and Mack.  This is where taking a shot at Harris and Mathieu makes a lot of sense.  It gives us two more young OLB/Edge guys in the mix competing with Irving and Fitts in hope that at least one of them can become that 3rd player in the rotation a spot Lynch currently holds.

Pagano has singled both Mathieu and Harris out for their effort during OTAs so we'll see what camp and the preseason can tells us about them.

Edited by soulman
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Outside pass rushers are always expensive and hard to find. 

Imagine if we didnt have Mack going into this season. We would be consoling ourselves that Hicks, Goldman and Nichols can provide pressure from inside. 

That was a good trade.  I dont care what anyone says.


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Ya gotta think with Harris also having played his college ball at Buffalo that Mack will take a special interest in helping him up his game.

At 236lbs he's still a little light but a full year of NFL weight and nutrition work should take care of that.  He could easily become my camp/preseason favorite UDFA long shot.

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