Now that the 2023 NFL Draft is done, teams scrambled to sign undrafted free agents (UDFA).
The Bears invited 63 players to rookie minicamp including draft picks, UDFA, a few veterans that served on practice squads, and one international player, Roy Mbaeteka, a 6-8 offensive lineman from Nigeria.
Players participated in conditioning exercises and drills sans pads.
After the draft, general manager Ryan Poles expressed his confidence in what the team accomplished. “I wanted to get bigger, faster,” he said. “I wanted to find areas that we needed to get better and put players that can impact the game in those spaces and get better, and I think we’ve done that. Like I said, it’s a long journey in terms of getting to the top. I don’t know if you ever get the perfect roster, but that’s what we chase all the time. But I think we’ve done a good job taking the proper steps to improve our football team.”
Coach Matt Eberflus is happy with the additions he gets to work with. “When you work hard at something, a lot of good things happen. It lined up the way we wanted it to, and it’s the scouts and the coaches being on the same page, but he (Poles) goes through all those models and different things that comes through. So it’s cool to watch when it comes down that way, and we got some really good players. We’re excited about it.”
Chicago went after linemen to protect the often battered Justin Fields. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was asked about having the new players at his disposal. He commented, “One of the things that I was reflecting on after the draft happened was just kind of looking at the roster that we had a year ago to where we’re at. Purely in the numbers sense and the competition that we’ll have now at each position, I think that part of it will be the best thing that we have going forward from a year ago. But yeah, I think we’re still so early in the process, with the veteran guys we’re back into that part of it where we’re just teaching. We’re not really installing plays. We’re just reaching right now. And now that we get this is our first opportunity around these young guys to kind of see what their movement skills are, what their capabilities are, learning and stuff, so I think we’re just at the beginning part of those phases. I think it’s too soon to tell. But we’re gonna challenge these guys like we did last year with as much as possible and see what can stick.”
I played in the Big Ten so playing physical is all we know. So just coming here and having that same brand of football is something I take pride in.”-Terrell Smith, rookie DB from Minnesota
Getsy reaffirmed the team’s commitment to Fields. “We evaluated Justin from last year I think the growth from where everybody, including yourselvesー like how the way that you viewed the guy and the way the team viewed the guy to where he was at this time last year, to where he is now, I think he’s just light years ahead of where he was, and I feel like he has a ton more to grow going forward. So we’re excited to try to get the best out of him moving forward and keep working toward where we think he can go.”
This season should be a good indicator if Poles and his staff are moving in the right direction.