Undrafted free agents are frequently overlooked due to their relatively low profile. However, many undrafted players have made major impacts in the NFL. Kurt Warner, John Randle, Antonio Gates and Warren Moon are just some of the Hall of Fame players that were not drafted.
Each team tries to find these diamonds in the rough throughout the offseason. This year is no different. The Chicago Bears announced their undrafted free agent signings on Thursday, May 13. Here are the three undrafted players that could make the most impact for the Chicago Bears.
OLB Charles Snowden
Outside linebacker Charles Snowden was widely expected to be selected in the draft. He is certainly the highest regarded Chicago undrafted signing of the 2021 class.
Snowden has a lot of potential as an edge rusher. He is the ideal size for such a position at 243 pounds, 6-foot-6 3/8 and an arm span of 35″. He moves faster than his size suggests and has all the tools to be a solid pass rusher in the NFL.
The Virginia alum also put up impressive statistics in college. He had the 13th most sacks and 15th most tackles for loss among all college linebackers last season. His time as a captain also proves his leadership ability.
Despite the positives to Charles Snowden, he is a raw prospect with multiple flaws. He is less powerful than he should be at 243 pounds and his technique leaves more to be desired at times. However, these are things Snowden can fix with more time in the weight room and the tutelage of All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack.
Charles Snowden is raw and still needs some work on his game. However, he has all the potential to be an impact player for the Bears defense.
RB CJ Marable
The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers had the best season in their short Division 1 history in 2020. They finished 11-1 overall, beat two top 25 teams and were ranked as high was 12th overall in all of the FBS, an impressive feat for such a small school. The Chanticleers would not have been able to take the nation by storm without running back CJ Marable.
Marable finished the season with 1,227 all purpose yards and 19 touchdowns. His impact spread beyond the running game, as he was a key player both receiving out of the backfield and on special teams.
CJ Marable has all the tools to succeed. He is a shifty back with good vision and the power to bounce off of tackles. His agility and athleticism also jumps across on tape. As his statistics suggest, he can make a difference in more than just the running game as well.
Despite Marable’s abilities that could make him a solid NFL running back, he might struggle to see the field in Chicago. The Bears running back room is already loaded with David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, Damien Williams and sixth round draft pick Khalil Herbert. Therefore, Marable might at least start his career in Chicago on the practice squad or as a depth player. However, he certainly has the potential to be an impact player as a running back or a special teamer in the future.
CB Dionté Ruffin
In 2020, Western Kentucky University quietly had one of the best pass defenses in the nation. They led all Division I teams with 68 pass breakups and were eighth is passing yards allowed per game. Cornerback Dionté Ruffin was a large part of the defense’s success.
Ruffin led the Hilltoppers and tied for fifth in the nation in last season with 11 pass breakups. Throughout 2020 and his college career as a whole, he demonstrated consistency and reliability as a defensive back.
This is all not to mention Ruffin’s prowess as a special teamer. He was positioned as a gunner, return specialist and field goal blocker for his first two years at Western Kentucky. Ruffin’s consistent starter status on special teams, even as a true freshman, shows that he might be well suited to fill that role in the pros.
Playing outside of the Power 5 college football conferences could be a diminishing factor on Ruffin’s resume. However, he proved that he could play against the best of them in Western Kentucky’s game against BYU. Facing quarterback Zach Wilson, the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Ruffin allowed just one catch on seven targets and had an interception. In doing so, he broke Wilson’s all-time program-record streak of 184 consecutive passes without an interception.
Ruffin was a model of consistency for Western Kentucky University and showed up in his biggest collegiate game. Ruffin could certainly make a difference for a Bears team that is looking for someone to step up at cornerback and depth on special teams.
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