Bears Sign Several UDFAs

Chris Leak was one of the most prolific passers in the history of high school football and guided Florida to a national championship last season, but his name was not one of the 255 called this past weekend. However, Jerry Angelo didn't let him sit in limbo for long, signing the former Gator and a few other quality college players as undrafted free agents.

QB - Florida (6'0", 207)

Although he does not possess ideal size or the kind of arm you expect of an NFL quarterback, Leak started for four years at a powerhouse program and delivered a national title in 2006 under heavy scrutiny from Gator Nation. He handles the ball very well and displays pretty good footwork in the pocket, but his accuracy is average at best and his decision-making has been questioned. Leak will compete with Kyle Orton and J.T. O'Sullivan for third-string duties.

RB - Notre Dame (5'10", 206)

A solid ball-carrier who put up big numbers for two years in South Bend for Charlie Weis, Walker has good acceleration and excels catching the ball out of the backfield. He projects well to the NFL as a third-down back and situational contributor, but he does not have breakaway speed or the kind of elusiveness you like to see in a smaller runner. Walker probably would have been better off staying in school and using his senior season to elevate his draft stock.

WR - Boise State (5'11", 185)

An athletic pass-catcher with a terribly inconsistent game, James was a three-year starter and a two-time all-conference performer. He has pretty good size and certainly runs well enough to compete on the NFL level, but he dropped a lot of catchable balls last season and tends to run sloppy routes from time to time. The Bears are still looking for another threat at receiver after not drafting one, so James will get a fair shake.

WR - New Hampshire (6'1", 196)

The second player from New Hampshire who will make his way to Chicago after fifth-rounder Corey Graham, Ball has been a standout for the Wildcats ever since his freshman season. He offers exceptional body control and fiery competitiveness, but his physical tools are somewhat lacking. Ball clocked a pedestrian 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash and does not pose any sort of downfield threat in the passing game against NFL defensive backs.

DE - Notre Dame (6'5", 262)

Another Golden-Domer, Frome battled injuries for most of his career as a member of the Fighting Irish. The Bears already have three solid defensive ends on the roster in Alex Brown, Adewale Ogunleye, and Mark Anderson, but they still chose to add Dan Bazuin from Central Michigan in Round 2. Lovie Smith puts a premium on getting pressure from the front four, but Frome will have to fight his way up the depth chart for practice time.

S - UNLV (6'1", 225)

Although he only played two games his senior season in Las Vegas, Staggs actually intercepted three passes in 2006. Originally a receiver when recruited out of high school, he has the build of an NFL strong safety but has limited starting experience and perhaps even more limited physical skills. The cousin of Washington Nationals outfielder Ryan Church, he enters an incredibly crowded safety depth chart behind several veterans, a few youngsters, and one drafted rookie.

WR - Tennessee (6'1", 210)

A part-time starter at a program that has produced its fair share of receivers, Swain offers very good size and fiery competitiveness. What he lacks, however, is straight line speed and will never be able to challenge NFL corners and safetys down the field. He might be able to make a living with his ability as a short- and intermediate-range target, but it's clear that Robert Meachem was the class of the Volunteer receiving corps last season.

LB - Georgia (6'3", 244)

Although he certainly looks like an NFL-caliber linebacker with his impressive measurables, Verdun-Wheeler never lived up to expectations in Athens. He is oozing with athleticism and has lightning-fast change-of-direction skills, but his limited football instincts have made him a stiff player and hesitant at the point of attack. Verdun-Wheeler has some ability, but he'll certainly be a project for new linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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