It is precisely the kind of description a personnel executive would like to have for a running back: “He just knows where to find the soft spots and take that little sidestep and keep grinding forward and keep moving forward while he's making his moves. He's got really good contact balance. He doesn't go down easy."
That was how Bears GM Phil Emery depicted Jordan Lynch, the Heisman finalist from Northern Illinois who went undrafted this weekend. Now he is in a spot where he will need to excel at a different position from his college one — something Tim Tebow wasn’t really willing to do but probably should have.
How Lynch develops may offer the Bears a chance to use one roster spot to back up two positions, running back and quarterback.
It wasn’t exactly what Lynch had in mind approaching the draft but a job is a job.
“I always say I'm a quarterback first, and I've been proving people wrong ever since I started playing,” Lynch said during the NFL Scouting Combine, when teams like Cleveland were in fact talking to him about playing quarterback. “And you know what, what I tell teams is they're gonna make a huge mistake if they don't put me at quarterback.
“But anything to get my foot in the door. If they want me to run down a kickoff and butt heads, I'll do that. I'm a team guy and I'll buy into any system."
That is where the Lynch signing among the nine undrafted free agents becomes interesting.
Lynch at 6-feet suddenly goes from a short quarterback to a tall running back, “towering” over 5-10 Michael Ford and 5-9 Ka’Deem Carey, taken by the Bears in the fourth round. Carey is an early favorite for the No. 2 running back, but after that…?
Backups are expected to be significant contributors on special teams. Ford was not, with just five tackles and five kickoff returns with an average of 7.4 yards per.
Lynch is willing to play “teams,” has shown some signs of being serviceable as a running back, and how many No. 3 running backs threw for 6,000 yards, 49 touchdowns and 61-percent completion percentage their final two years at the collegiate level?
Also signed by the Bears as undrafted free agents:
—Brandon Dunn DT, Louisville
—Ryan Groy, G, Wisconsin
—James Dunbar, G TCU
—Tana Patrick, LB, Alabama
—Christian Jones, LB, Florida State
—Lee Pegues, DT, East Carolina
—Cody Booth, T, Temple
—Devekeyan Lattimore, LB, South Florida