The Chicago Bears’ three-day rookie minicamp wasn’t just important for the draft picks and undrafted free agents who were signed after the draft. It was also a time for players in town on a tryout basis to earn contracts with the team.
It’s diamond-in-the-rough season across the NFL, and the Bears added a few new names to the roster who will be fighting for spots in the coming weeks and months.
John Franklin III showed off his versatility during a topsy-turvy college career. Franklin played wide receiver and quarterback during his stints at Florida State, Auburn, and Florida Atlantic University. And after lining up at defensive back and kick returnerduring the Bears’ minicamp, Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports Franklin has signed with Chicago. Franklin, a four-star recruit coming out of South Plantation High School in Florida, might be best known for his role on “Last Chance U” – a Netflix show that took an inside look at the East Mississippi Community College football team.
Franklin has speed to burn, running the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds at FAU’s pro day and posting an unofficial time of 4.19 seconds at a workout in Fort Lauderdale.
Mark Grote of 670 The Score tweeted that wide receiver Matt Fleming as a player who stood out during the weekend minicamp. Fleming played his college ball at Division III Benedictine University, but was a more notable as a track-and-field athlete where he earned All-American honors and was part of a national championship winning relay team in 2017. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that you can’t teach speed.
Fleming tweeted this on Sunday evening:
Blessed to be a Chicago Bear💙🧡 to God be the glory 🐻🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/Dn682Td3Sq
— Matt Fleming (@__matt3) May 13, 2018
Fleming will have his work cut out for him, especially at a crowded position group. Still, Fleming has certainly done enough to impress in the eyes of the coaching staff to the point where he joined the Bears’ 90-man roster.
The same goes for offensive lineman Jeremi Hall, who Chris Emma tweets the Bears will sign after a positive showing at the team’s minicamp. Hall is a University of South Florida product who played left guard and was a first-team All-AAC. I guess this makes he and Anthony Miller teammates again. Miller was also named to the American Athletic Conference’s first-team in 2017 for the big year he had at Memphis as a senior.
Chicago seems to have reloaded the interior of the offensive line during the offseason, so that’s a position we’ll have circled to keep an extra close eye on when training camp rolls around.