The early rounds of the NFL draft are important. Never get that twisted. Teams who hit on those picks regularly tend to win a lot each year. However, what often separates the good teams from everybody else is what they do late in the draft and even more so in undrafted free agency. Finding good players after the draft is the biggest challenge for teams. Those that do reap huge rewards. The Chicago Bears know this well.
GM Ryan Pace gets plenty of flak for previous mistakes. One thing people can’t argue? He’s done tremendous work on the undrafted circuit since he arrived in 2015.
- Bryce Callahan
- Cameron Meredith
- Roy Robertson-Harris
- Sam Mustipher
- Alex Bars
Most other Bears GMs never seemed to take the undrafted circuit seriously. Such is not the case with Pace. It appears he’s been at it again. After less than 24 hours, the Bears have secured 11 college free agents thus far. One, in particular, stands out above the rest in the former of Virginia edge rusher Charles Snowden. Somebody that Hall of Fame executive Gil Brandt had ranked as the #2 pass rusher available among all undrafted free agents.
His colleague at NFL.com, Lance Zierlein might’ve labeled him #1.
At least according to his draft grade. The top name, Hamilcar Rashed Jr. of Oregon State, was given a 5.50 grade on Zierlein’s scale. That ranked him as a future priority free agent. Snowden on the other hand? He earned a 6.22 and was projected to go in the 4th round. The guy is an imposing sight when you first look at him at 6’7, 243 lbs. He boasts 35-inch arms which are ideal for the NFL and he has the athleticism of a basketball player.
He showed incremental improvement over his four years at Virginia too. His 2020 season was his best with six sacks and 10 tackles for a loss in just eight games. He also forced a fumble. One trademark of his game was pass deflection. He had 15 over his last three seasons. His motor stands out too. Snowden showed a willingness to never give up on plays even if he was initially blocked.
Chicago Bears have something exciting in Snowden
He is what one would call a slab of clay in the scouting community. Somebody who is far from a finished product but if catered to properly? He could become something special in a year or two. The size and athleticism are there. What most experts felt Snowden lacked was overall strength and a complex pass rush play. Two things are quite correctable. Chicago can get him on a proper diet plan to add more muscle and new outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey can help him add to his rush arsenal.
Not to mention working with former Pro Bowlers like Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn will only help him. It isn’t a surprise the Chicago Bears prioritized signing Snowden. Their depth at outside linebacker was lacking any young options with upside. Remember that both Mack and Quinn are in their 30s. The team still has high hopes for former 5th rounder Trevis Gipson but he has a lot to prove. Snowden offers them another talent to explore.
This is never a bad thing.
It will be fascinating to see how the young man develops in the months to come. He has a Robertson-Harris feel to him. His impact may not be immediate, but given time don’t be surprised if he’s logging considerable snaps on Sundays.