The Chicago Bears brought a ton of bodies to their rookie minicamps this weekend, including all 11 draft picks and 16 undrafted free agents. Also included were nearly two dozen camp invitees. College prospects the team had some interest in and wanted to get a closer look at. It was a premium opportunity for many of them. One that wasn’t likely to come around too often if they didn’t give their best.
After three days of work, the coaching staff liked what they saw from two particular names. According to their respective agents, Ball State linebacker Christian Albright and Northern Arizona defensive end Carson Taylor showed enough promise during drills to earn contracts. They will join the rest of the team for OTAs later this spring and then training camp in July. A terrific turn of events for both young men.
The newest member of the @ChicagoBears . Our very own @c_albright9 . Turned a Rookie Mini Camp Invite into a contract. The epitome of the Muck mentality. Let’s get it! #ChirpChirp pic.twitter.com/YrZbgA6ouh
— Markenson Pierre (@mucksportsrep) May 8, 2022
GOT MY FIRST CLIENT A DEAL AND I AINT EVEN LICENSED YET ! I FEEL LIKE I GOT SIGNED !!Congrat$ @ctaylor1198 #CBFWR #NFL #CHICAGO #BEARS #GGG 💚🙏🏽🙌🏽
— hypemeansnothing (@bespokenordie) May 8, 2022
It isn’t hard to understand the appeal of either player.
Albright brings plenty of experience with him from Ball State. He has good size at 6’2, 240 lbs, and fits the profile of a strong-side linebacker in the Bears’ new 4-3 defense. One of his best traits is his ability to create havoc as a blitzer. Across 57 games, he had 15 sacks and 34 tackles for a loss. He also demonstrated a nose for the football with nine forced fumbles. That is undoubtedly a stat that stood out to the takeaway-minded Matt Eberflus.
Taylor comes from the FCS ranks out of Northern Arizona. He has a good frame for a 4-3 defensive end at 6’4, 250 lbs. Better still, he showcased an ability to consistently dominate his competition. From the start of 2019, Taylor played 25 games. Over that span, he had 14.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for a loss, and five forced fumbles. He helped his case further at his college pro day with a 40-yard dash of 4.59 and a 38-inch vertical jump.
Chicago Bears are keeping open minds ahead of 2022 season.
Super Bowl-winning head coach Dick Vermeil had a great line once about when his St. Louis Rams signed Kurt Warner in 1997. He said, “You open the doors to more people when you’re not a very good football team.” That is precisely where the Bears are right now. After a 6-11 season, they’ve realized they aren’t going to compete until they find more talent. Beggars can’t be choosers, so they’ve cast the net as wide as possible.
Just because guys like Albright and Taylor went undrafted doesn’t mean they can’t play the game. That is why the team held such a massive tryout. They’re willing anybody and everybody a shot to prove themselves. Those two took full advantage of it. What they do with the opportunity remains to be seen. They could end up just being training camp bodies, or they might end up blossoming into something more.
That is what makes this process so much fun.
It will be interesting to see how Albright and Taylor develop over the summer. One can imagine they’ll be preparing themselves for what might be a highly competitive preseason, given the number of undrafted rookies on the roster. Several spots will be up for grabs.