The Chicago Bears finished their three-day rookie minicamp at Halas Hall this past week.

Every year, in the days following the NFL draft, teams bring in a wave of undrafted free agents to compete for a roster spot in training camp.

Last year, Ryan Poles notably found a hidden gem in quarterback Tyson Bagent, who has solidified himself as a solid backup going into the 2024 season.


These are the 9 players the Bears signed as undrafted free agents prior to the start of the rookie minicamp:

  • Brenden Bates – TE (Kentucky)
  • Theo Benedet – OL (British Columbia)
  • Carl Jones Jr – LB (UCLA)
  • Jamree Kromah – DL (James Madison)
  • Peter LeBlanc – WR (Louisiana)
  • Keith Randolph Jr – DL (Illinois)
  • Austin Reed – QB (Western Kentucky)
  • Reddy Steward – DB (Troy)
  • Ian Wheeler – RB (Howard)

This morning, the Bears announced the signings of four additional undrafted rookies that were brought to rookie minicamp on a tryout basis:

  • John Jackson – WR (USC)
  • Leon Jones – CB (Arkansas State)
  • Dashaun Mallory – DT (Arizona State)
  • Paul Moala – LB (Georgia Tech)

If there is going to be a hidden gem in this undrafted class, defensive lineman Keith Randolph Jr. certainly has the potential.


Randolph’s best season for Illinois was in 2022, with career highs in tackles (53), tackles for loss (13), and sacks (4.5) in 13 games. Everyone loves Pro Football Network’s draft board and mock draft simulations – PFF ranked Randolph at 195th heading into the 2024 draft. For reference, that would be projecting him as a Day 3 pick in Round 6.

The biggest concern for Randolph is his agility. His initial quickness off the ball is lacking, which heavily impacts his pass-rush potential. Factoring in the lack of agility, Randolph can tend to get caught standing up out of stance, which leads to issues against double teams and combo blocks.

Obviously, he’s not a perfect prospect, or else he would have been drafted – but Randolph’s pure strength is undeniable. At 6’4, 300 pounds, with long arms, Randolph can get a great extension to lock out offensive linemen – resulting in being tough against the run. He is strong at plugging his gap, and it is difficult to take one-on-one.

Randolph’s production at Illinois without having great technique or a consistent go-to move to win at the line of scrimmage makes you wonder what could be unlocked once he walks into an NFL training camp.


For a defensive line that is still the roster’s true weakness, Randolph could prove valuable, at least for depth and as a run-stuffer.

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