Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Ten Other Teams Wanted Undrafted Rookie Before Chicago Bears Got Him


The draft picks get most of the attention when discussing the Chicago Bears’ 2024 rookie class. Still, undrafted free agents play a pivotal role in the NFL. Many have become great players, vital to their team’s success. It is no different for this organization. Some of their biggest names were undrafted. Jay Hilgenberg was one. Brian Piccolo, James Allen, and Leslie Frazier were others. Tyson Bagent was a nice find last year for the team. No doubt they are hoping somebody from the newest crop can take a similar leap.

Two names have been the most popular when discussing this undrafted rookie group. Both are defensive linemen: Keith Randolph of Illinois and Jamree Kromah of James Madison. Each played really well last season, showcasing enough ability to indicate they have NFL chops. However, some inside Halas Hall believe another name is one to watch. That is British Columbia offensive tackle Theo Benedet. According to Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic, the Bears had to fight off several other teams for his services.

Offensive line coach Chris Morgan ultimately proved the decisive factor.

Ten teams made offers to Benedet after the draft. The other top candidates were the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, but he chose Chicago.

“I felt like there was an O-line coach here who really believed in me who I started to develop a relationship with and I think really understood my strengths and my weaknesses as well,” he said. “I thought that’d bode well for the future.”

Benedet didn’t start playing football until 10th grade. He could have gone to the CFL and been a star. But he wants to compete with the best and is attempting the climb to an NFL roster.

“Once people said to him, ‘You know, you’ve really got something special. You could play at a really high level,’ there was no stopping him,” said Theo’s mother, Janine Benedet. “He wants the opportunity to prove what he can do.”

The Chicago Bears’ interest in Benedet is easy to understand.

Watch his tape for a couple of minutes, and you will immediately see a great athlete for someone 300 lbs. He has quick feet, eyes, good length, and a noticeable mean streak. The guy competes on every snap, making significant strides as a pass protector over the course of his college career. Apparently, the Bears have had their eyes on him for some time, formulating a plan for how they would develop him long before he declared his intentions to go pro. If you weren’t sure they knew how talented he was, the fact he was the 15th overall pick in the CFL draft cemented that.

Even those in Canada admitted they saw his talent as too good for their league. His competitive nature would eventually drive him towards the NFL. This isn’t the first time the Chicago Bears lured a Canadian phenom south. They signed star pass rusher Mathieu Betts a few years ago after the 2019 draft. He made it to the final cuts but failed to crack the roster. Ironically, he returned to Canada, where he had 18 sacks in the CFL last season. Now, he is trying out for the Detroit Lions.

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Benedet no doubt hopes to succeed where Betts failed.


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May 21, 2024 7:22 pm

For all of you Morgan bashers: I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was Matty Ice’s asst OL coach during his MVP season. Ryan must have given his blessing, and is up close and personal. The only guy I wanted replaced was our WR coach, Tyke Tolbert. That was strictly based on multiple players 1-not knowing the playbook 2-poor effort on plays.
There were times our OL played well, we just had no cohesion along our interior. A spider web would be an upgrade over Whitehair and Patrick.

May 21, 2024 12:14 pm

Good. This gives Chris Morgan another chance to prove he is a capable NFL coach by developing a kid that he apparently likes. Hopefully it goes better than the majority of other young players have since he’s been here.

May 21, 2024 8:13 am

I don’t know if Chris Morgan is a good coach or not. Developing raw talent from the “raw” level to functional is good, but being able to develop beyond that point to “elite” reflects coaching ability. That is where I’d like to see the Bears go. He’s proven he can get Braxton Jones and Darnell Wright and Steven Jenkins to “starting” level, but we haven’t seen more. To be fair, Ryan Poles should know offensive line play, and it takes more than a couple years to develop most elite linemen. To begin with, unless they come from elite programs, their… Read more »

May 21, 2024 7:42 am

I hope he’s as good as advertised. Bears need OL depth. On tape, he shows good technique and a mean streak. But Benedet hasn’t played against top talent yet. Let’s see how he performs in training camp.
Still, good pickup by Poles.

Last edited 11 hours ago by Veece
Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
May 21, 2024 6:32 am

The Bears need all the OL depth they can get for a long season and the playoffs. Plus, Canadians are very nice people.

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