It’s early in the offseason, but neither of the seven-round mock drafts we’ve run through have sent the Chicago Bears an answer to their kicking problems. Perhaps a draft weekend solution will become more of a focus once the first wave of free agency passes and the high profile kickers who could be solutions to the Bears’ biggest problem don’t land in Chicago.
Should the Bears be forced to wait until the draft or be put in a position to choose from the pool of undrafted free agents, perhaps Roldan Alcobendas is someone they’ll be interested in picking up.
After all, he’ll be visiting Halas Hall in a few weeks:
Looking forward to presenting the 2018 Fred Mitchell Award to Roldan Alcobendas of Eastern Washington on Feb.18 at the National Football Foundation ceremony at Halas Hall. It is presented to the top FCS, Div. II, Div. III, NAIA or NJCAA place-kicker (750+ eligible ). pic.twitter.com/6HrXWD2P0e
— Fred B. Mitchell (@kicker34) February 2, 2019
Roldan Alcobendas, the 2018 Fred Mitchell Award winner out of Eastern Washington, was perfect 16 for 16 on field goals this season and scored 119 points. https://t.co/rcA5De3RdR pic.twitter.com/RSyLErQ5XT
— Fred B. Mitchell (@kicker34) January 13, 2019
Alcobendas will receive the 2018 Fred Mitchell Award, which is handed out annually to college football’s best place-kicker. Mitchell, who was spent more than 40 years at the Chicago Tribune, was an All-American kicker at Wittenberg University in Ohio, so he knows his stuff when it comes to kicking. You can read more about the award here, but you should know it considers kickers from throughout college football, including the FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA, and NJCAA junior college ranks.
Indeed, there were 750 eligible kickers for the 2018 award, and Alcobendas was the best of the bunch.
The 2018 season was a near-perfect one for Alcobendas at Eastern Washington. He made 71 of 72 extra-point attempts and each of the 16 field goal attempts he was called on to kick. What might be most encouraging about Alcobendas’ profile is that he went 5-for-5 on attempts between 40 and 49 yards, including a season-long 47 in Week 1 and a 45-yard try in early December. If you’ll recall, Parkey struggled from beyond 40 yards, making just 9 of 12 between 40-49 during the regular season, then missing a 43-yarder in the playoffs to end the Bears’ season.
Because the Bears probably don’t want their season to end because of a kicker again, GM Ryan Pace declared there will be an open competition for the position this coming season. And while certain free agents such as Robbie Gould and Stephen Gostkowski will pique every fan’s interest, Chicago’s front office might need to fall back on Plan B if their first options aren’t available. The Bears would be wise to search far and wide in their hunt for a new kicker. So while Eastern Washington isn’t a known as a football hotbed, Alcobendas should be given a good look when the opportunity presents itself.