GM Ryan Pace has a firmly established reputation for finding quality football players in the later rounds. That is why fans weren’t that worried that the team had no 1st or 2nd round pick in the draft this year. Pace, with his strong scouting staff and attention to detail, would find good players. Based on incoming reports of Chicago Bears rookies thus far, this faith is being rewarded.
Word out practices since the rookie minicamps back at the beginning of May seemed to center around two names. One being 4th round pick Riley Ridley and the other 6th round pick Duke Shelley. Both showed considerable talent and advanced capabilities for their respective positions. Still, it was against mostly rookies. No way that continues right?
According to Kevin Fishbaine of The Athletic, this is not the case. The two young players aren’t losing steam. If anything, they’re gaining it.
“We’re continuing to see plenty of Riley Ridley catches during the spring practices. He caught a touchdown Tuesday after Gabriel’s almost-score and seemed to be on the same page with Mitch Trubisky during the 11-on-11 work…
…Another rookie who flashed during Tuesday’s practice was nickel corner and sixth-round pick Duke Shelley, who had back-to-back pass breakups in the end zone on throws attempted to Marvin Hall.”
Chicago Bears rookies Ridley and Shelley aren’t waiting for their turns
When you join a talented roster like the Bears have, it can be difficult get opportunities if you’re a young player. Most resign themselves to simply waiting their turn, hoping a chance comes up sooner than later. However, that isn’t the way it always work. Good football players realize that sitting back and waiting will never satisfy them. They must make the coaches notice them.
This is done by constantly making plays in practice.
To the credit of Ridley and Shelley, they’ve made sure not to waste any time. The buzz around them for the past few months has been consistent. Experts felt Ridley was one of the bigger steals of the draft thanks to his unusually precise route running. Meanwhile, members of the Bears organization believe with conviction that Shelley would’ve gone much higher than the 6th round if he hadn’t gotten hurt his senior year.
If they can keep up this pace into training camp and the preseason, the Bears may not be able to keep them off the field when the real games begin this fall.