One of the Chicago Bears’ most popular players from the preseason is back under team control:
#Bears roster move:
We have signed DB John Franklin III to the practice squad.
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) November 24, 2018
The team re-signed defensive back John Franklin III and added him to the practice squad. This marks a return to the practice squad for Franklin, who as dropped off the unit shortly after re-signing with the group back in September. Franklin fills the practice squad roster spot left vacated by offensive James Stone, who was released earlier in November.
Franklin originally joined the Bears in May as an undrafted free agent. He posted an unofficial time of 4.19 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a workout in Fort Lauderdale and ran a 4.40-second dash at Florida Atlantic University’s pro day. The “Last Chance U” star was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and had stints at Florida State and Auburn lining up at wide receiver and quarterback before spending some time as a kick returner and defensive back during his time with the Bears this spring and summer.
Even though Franklin is a work in progress as a defensive back, the Bears could stand to use some depth an upside at the position. And if the ankle sprain suffered by running back Benny Cunningham is a lingering issue, the Bears could throw Franklin into the mix as a kick returner. Chicago has been using Taquan Mizzell Sr. in that role since being called up to the active roster, but the team could cut back on his kick return duties should they need to use him as a third-string back.
If all else fails, Franklin fits the mold of a player the team takes a flier on as a developmental prospect. And since the Bears have developed pleasant surprises in undrafted free agents such as cornerback Bryce Callahan and defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris, Franklin’s progress could be worth monitoring should he remain stashed on the practice squad.