The Bears are heading into a pivotal training camp in a few weeks and the 90 man roster could use some upgrades. The USFL season is nearing an end which means its star players are and will be available to sign with NFL teams. Here are the 5 players the Bears need to sign.
- Chris Odom DE/Edge 6’4” 260 lbs, 27 years old, Arkansas State- Odom was named the USFL Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the All USFL team racking up 41 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 4 blocked extra points and field goals, and 6 forced fumbles. Odom was unstoppable for the Houston Gamblers this season. On almost every play he was in the backfield causing panic and mayhem. At Arkansas State Odom had 87 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks with 12.5 coming his Senior season, and 4 forced fumbles. With the Robert Quinn situation up in the air the Bears need more experienced depth at DE and Odom can be that guy.
🔥😤 @Chrisodom98 has been nightmare fuel for offenses around the league all season
The Defensive Player of the Year put on a show every week for the @USFLGamblers ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/MnoMARIkfO
— USFL (@USFL) June 22, 2022
- DeMarquis Gates LB 6’2” 230 lbs, 26 years old, Ole’ Miss- Gates was named to the All USFL team and was a contender for the Defensive Player of the Year award. Gates had 1 INT, 62 tackles, and 6.5 sacks in the regular season for the Birmingham Stallions. Gates is a rangy LB that can cover a lot of field very quickly. He seems to be around the ball every play. At Ole’ Miss Gates had 282 tackles, 6 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles over his 4 year career. The Bears are in desperate need of LBs due to moving to the 4-3 defense. With the arrest of Matt Adams there may be an even greater need now. He can play any of the LB positions making him a versatile backup to Roquan Smith and Nicholas Morrow. Gates also covers kickoffs and punts so he can be an asset on special teams as well.
DEMARQUIS. GATES. Spring football legend. Dude is ALWAYS making big plays!!pic.twitter.com/5StN0Lwgfi
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenMI) June 26, 2022
- Jonathan Adams WR 6’3” 220 lbs, 23 years old, Arkansas State- Adams is not the best WR statistically for the USFL but he is a consistent presence for the New Orleans Breakers. He is their deep outside threat who can make ridiculous catches. Adams had 406 receiving yards and 3 TDs. Again not statistically impressive, but his skill is there. The Bears receiver room is up for grabs outside of Darnell Mooney and could use all the help it can get. At Arkansas State Adams had 166 receptions for 2,306 yards and 21 TDs over his 4 year career there. His Senior year he had 79 receptions for 1,111 yards and 12 TDs. That’s the potential the Bears should be looking at. He flashed this in the USFL, but he was often the focus of the defense and bad quarterback play hampered his stat line. A tall and big receiver that can be that X receiver is what the Bears are lacking and Adams fits that bill.
Jonathan Adams put on a SHOW this weekend against Tampa Bay 🤲🔥
What was you favorite play of his? pic.twitter.com/oeE2jGLBcW
— New Orleans Breakers (@USFLBreakers) April 25, 2022
- Will Likely DB 5’7” 179 lbs 27 years old Maryland University- Likely is a very active defender and special teams ace for the Houston Gamblers. Likely was named to the All USFL team raking up 63 tackles, 4 ints, 143 kick return yards, and 110 punt return yards. Likely is a bit undersized at 5’7” but is still a potent force on defense. His 4 ints put him tied for 3rd in all the USFL. His true utility comes with his special teams prowess. He is an excellent return man and he can also cover on defense. This flexibility makes him a very attractive target for the Bears. Likely has a long history of being an elite return man and can throw his hat in the ring for being the Bears kick and/or punt returner. At Maryland, Likely had 2,233 kick return yards, 2 kick return TDs, 875 punt return yards, and 4 punt return TDs over his 4 year career. Even if he doesn’t win either return slot, Likely can be a solid long term special teams ace which is something the Bears have been lacking since losing Sherrick McManis.
Pick-six yesterday for Will Likely. His second pick in two USFL games.pic.twitter.com/ZdPJqy5pcd
— Jeff Ermann (@Jeff_Ermann) April 24, 2022
- J’Mar Smith QB 6’1 218 lbs, 25 years old, Louisiana Tech- Smith led the Birmingham Stallions to a 9-1 regular season record. He passed for 1,573 yards, 10 TDs, and 6 ints. He rushed for 187 yards and 2 TDs. Smith is inconsistent at times but showed flashes of being at the NFL level. He can read defenses and make all the throws a NFL QB needs to make. At Louisiana Tech Smith threw for 9,523 yards, 51 TDs, and 21 ints over his 4 year career. The Bears currently lack a backup QB that is similar to Justin Fields. Trevor Siemen and Nathan Peterman have enough mobility, but they aren’t the true run threat Fields is. This means that if one of them has to come in the game the Bear’s offense would need to be adjusted as well as giving the defense one less thing to worry about. Smith is a very similar QB to Fields. He is highly mobile and can run, but would prefer to stay in the pocket and pass. He also can be very accurate when throwing on the run. The offense Smith runs for the Stallions is a run first to set up the pass which is what is expected the Bears offense will be. It’s not exactly the Shannahan outside zone concept, but it is similar. Smith would be a far better option as the 3rd string QB than Nathan Peterman. Peterman isn’t good and has no upside. While raw, Smith has tremendous upside and can grow into a true backup for Fields who can have success running the same offense as Fields.
WHAT A SHAKE on the route by Marlon Williams to scoot into space for J’Mar Smith to make the 65-yard touchdown grab and put the Stallions comfortably ahead. pic.twitter.com/WNJLB0tA3R
— USFL Sapient 🇺🇦 (@USFLSapient) April 24, 2022
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