Bears 2014 UDFA review

The Bears added nine rookies following the draft, a few of whom have serious potential as roster additions in 2014. We break down the four UDFAs most likely to find their way onto the roster.

Like every NFL team, the Chicago Bears were quick to add even more talent to the roster after the final bell rang on the 2014 NFL Draft. After six selections during the process, the Bears immediately turned around and signed nine undrafted free agents.

Here are the four UDFAs with the best shot at making the club's 2014 roster.

RB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
(6-0, 217)

Lynch is a very interesting addition. He was a highly productive quarterback in college and was third in Heisman Trophy voting last year and seventh in 2012. He was a two-time AP All-American who in 2013 became only the fifth player in NCAA history with 20-plus rushing and passing touchdowns.

Lynch is an outstanding runner who last year against MSU broke the NCAA single-game QB rushing record (321). As a junior in 2012, his first year as a starter, he set an NCAA FBS record with 12 100-yard rushing games. He's not a pocket passer, doesn't have a great downfield arm and is very short for the position.

When asked about Lynch's potential following the draft, Emery said, ""You know, I think he's a really fine runner. I think the fact that he can throw and throw with accuracy in a short area is good too. I think you want as many athletes that can do as many things as possible and he certainly presents options that way.

"I mean he's got a great set of eyes, very instinctive, especially for a quarterback between the tackles. He just knows where to find the soft spots and take that little sidestep and keep grinding forward and keep working forward while he's making those moves. Has really good contact balance. He doesn't go down easy. I like all those things."

It doesn't sound like Emery has any plans for Lynch at quarterback. Some believe he can play tight end or in the secondary, and he'll certainly give the Bears options in Wildcat packages. Currently the Bears list him as a running back, which is where he'll apparently get his first shot at making the team.

The Bears have had their eye on Lynch for a while. They met with him at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, worked him out at his pro day, which included DB drills, and worked him out privately at Halas Hall. Expect the Bears to give him numerous opportunities to make this year's roster, as his versatility and athleticism could provide value on multiple levels.

LB Christian Jones, Florida State
(6-3, 240)

No player in the draft fell as far as Jones, who was considered by many as a third-round talent in this year's class. He was a three-year starter for the Seminoles who has experience at WILL linebacker, SAM linebacker and defensive end. He showed decent pass-rush ability as a senior and is very instinctive in coverage.

Jones has red flags though. He reportedly failed his drug test at the combine, which is all kinds of stupid, and was suspended one game last year for a violation of team rules. He also did not show very well at the combine and posted just 17 bench press reps at his pro day – confirming the lack of ideal strength he shows on the field.

Yet Jones is an experienced, intelligent and talented linebacker. He plays sideline-to-sideline and can stay on the field on passing downs. At the very least, he can be a core special teams player. His read-and-react skills as a linebacker need work and the Bears already have a lot of bodies at the position, so Jones has an uphill climb ahead of him if he wants to make this year's roster. But if he shows during training camp what he did on film last year, he could easily be a member of the final 53.

G Ryan Groy, Wisconsin
(6-5, 316)

Heading into his senior year, many projected Groy as a potential mid-round pick, even as high as the third round. He's a three-year starter who was named All Big-Ten in both 2012 and 2013.

Groy isn't overly athletic and struggles with quicker pass rushers. As a mauler though, he has some potential. He has very good size for a guard and can swallow up defenders once he gets his hands on him. Despite his limited athleticism, he's effective on the move and at the second level, two traits that could give him an edge in Aaron Kromer's zone-blocking system.

Also in Groy's favor is the team's lack of a bona fide swing guard. James Brown served in that role last season yet was inactive for every contest. In essence, he was an emergency option. If Groy has a strong camp, he could supplant Brown as the club's No. 3.

OT/TE Cody Booth, Temple
(6-4, 292)

Booth was recruited by the Owls as a defensive end, then switched to tight end before being converted to offensive tackle his senior year. As a junior, he caught 17 passes for 137 yards and a team-leading four touchdowns. He's an athletic player with very good feet, which served him well as an offensive tackle.

The Bears list him as a tackle but he does have hybrid potential. In a role similar Eben Britton's last year, Booth could have value down the line as the club's third tackle, or "monster" tight end, one who could offer the surprise reception near the goal line.

Yet Booth also has experience as a long snapper, serving in that role for both punts and field goals in 2013, which could be his quickest route to a roster spot. Long-time snapper Patrick Mannelly has yet to be re-signed and it's becoming more likely his career is over. If Booth can come in and prove himself a dependable long snapper, he could sneak onto the final 53.

The Bears rounded out the roster with the following five players, all of whom will provide camp depth:

DT Brandon Dunn, Louisville
G James Dunbar, TCU
LB Tana Patrick, Alabama
DT Lee Pegues, East Carolina
LB Devekeyan Lattimore, South Florida

Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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