They are still deep in the category of longshots and will be for the foreseeable future but seven unrostered players out of 34 tryout prospects brought to Halas Hall for this weekends rookie minicamp made enough of an impression to be signed to their first NFL contracts.
Some undrafted players made their mark, said coach Lovie Smith. The group of tryout guys that came here without a contract, always anxious to see what we have from those. A few of the guys really made us take notice.
All of the position players signed were on offense, plus one kicker and one punter:
Wide receiver Joe Anderson, Texas Southern; quarterback Matt Blanchard, Wisconsin-Whitewater; tackle Tyler Hendrickson, Concordia; guard Nick Pieschel, Central Florida; and tight end Brandon Venson, Illinois State.
Boston College punter Ryan Quigley and Connecticut kicker David Teggart also were signed as relief legs for Adam Podlesh and Robbie Gould.
The Bears wont keep four quarterbacks but that number is important in ensuring that veterans Jay Cutler, Jason Campbell and Josh McCown are not overused for drills and other sessions.
Blanchard and Ronnie Fouch from Indiana State both gave good accounts of themselves in the three days work. Blanchard quarterbacked UW-Whitewater to the last two of the Warhawks three consecutive NCAA Div. III national championships.
They were students of the game, said quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates. They executed well. It was fun to watch those guys.