By Greg Gabriel–
(CBS) In the hours following the end of the NFL Draft, the Bears signed a number if undrafted free agents. The team has yet to officially announce those signings and likely won’t until their rookie mini-camp this weekend, but many of those players signed have made an announcement themselves or through their agents via Twitter.
With the Bears only drafting five players this year, there are a few of these free agents who will compete for a spot on the 53-man roster and/or practice squad. Here are a few of the more interesting names.
Tanner Gentry, WR, Wyoming
Gentry is an interesting prospect, if only because of his size and production in 2016. He’s 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and ran the 40 in 4.56. He also had a 10-foot, 3-inch standing long jump, a 38-inch vertical jump and did 18 reps of 225 pounds, which is impressive for a receiver.
In the 2016, Gentry was Wyoming’s go-to receiver with 72 receptions for 1,326 yards and 14 touchdowns. Tanner is a physical receiver who competes for the ball in traffic and is a physical runner after the catch. He’s effective on long and short routes and has excellent hands. With his physical style of play, he looks to have good special teams potential, something the fourth, fifth and sixth wide receivers have to be proficient at.
Freddie Stevenson, FB, Florida State
Fullback isn’t a position that many teams in the NFL use. The Bears are one of the few teams that kept a fullback on the 53-man roster last season. Currently, second-year pro Paul Lasike fills that role.
Stevenson was one of the first players the Bears signed after the conclusion of the draft, and he was generally regarded as of the to two fullbacks in the country alongside Virginia Tech’s Sam Rogers.
Steveson has good size at 6-foot, 235 pounds with 4.75 speed. While not fast, he has quick feet and quick change of direction. He can block both in-line and when on the move. He also can clear out a space easily in short-yardage situations as well as hold his own in pass protection.
Stevenson wasn’t used much as a receiver or ball-carrier, but he shows good inside power and can get the tough yards. He had 16 carries for 90 yards and four touchdowns in 2016.
With his aggressiveness, he has good special teams potential and should challenge Lasike for a roster spot.
Dieugot Joseph, OT, Florida International
Joseph is a former defensive end who was moved to left tackle as a redshirt freshman. He’s tall but has a bit of a narrow frame. He’s 6-foot-6, 293 pounds and ran a 5.21 at the Florida International pro day.
Joseph is athletic and also has growth potential to about 310 pounds. He shows quick change of direction and balance. In pass protection, he sets quickly and does and adequate job of cutting off wide speed. What he will need to compete at the NFL level is more strength, bulk and technique work. He has the length and athleticism to play left tackle. Right now, I see him as more of a practice squad candidate who may be a year away from making a 53-man roster.
Andy Phillips, K, Utah
Phillips isn’t your typical kicker, as he’ll be a 28-year-old rookie. What’s the story behind that? Well, he’s a former world-class skier. He enrolled at Utah in 2012 and redshirted. Since 2013, he has been the Utes’ primary kicker.
Phillips is accurate, having missed only one PAT in four years. He has also made 84 of 100 field-goal attempts with a long of 53 during his four-year college career. In the last three seasons, his accuracy has been close to 87percent.
The question on Phillips isn’t accuracy but rather leg strength. At Utah, he kicked at altitude, so some scouts have questioned of he has an NFL leg. He will be interesting to track come training camp.
Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who is an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.