Looking across the Chicago Bears roster going into training camp, one of the most interesting position groups has to be wide receiver. Based on its current configuration, there are probably four guys who can be considered locks for the upcoming season. Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Ted Ginn Jr. Darnell Mooney is also likely given he’s a 5th round pick. One the Bears traded up for. So that leaves one spot up for grabs.

Who will claim it? Wide receivers coach Mike Furrey singled out Riley Ridley as someone to watch in training camp. There is also third-year man Javon Wims of course who still has promise. However, there could be an underdog worth mentioning. Somebody fans have probably forgotten for understandable reasons but never stopped being an intriguing talent.

His name is Thomas Ives.

Ives has interesting skills the Chicago Bears can’t ignore

Not a lot of people knew about Ives prior to him signing with the team as an undrafted free agent last season. No surprise given he came from Colgate University. A place where he never topped 400 yards receiving in a season. Yet the talent was not hard to see. A 6’4 kid who could run pretty well and had a tendency for making tough catches. His seven touchdowns in nine games in 2017 are one example.

After a steady training camp as a rookie, he flourished in the preseason with nine catches for 148 yards. It wasn’t enough to make the main roster, but Ives did remain on the practice squad all season and earned a futures contract to return for training camp this year. So clearly the team likes him. Could he pull off an upset and steal that coveted final receiver spot?

It’s possible. He would have to continue performing well in practice. That is step one. Where he might be able to sneak in is on special teams. The bottom of a depth chart is typically reserved for players who contribute in the third phase. If Ives takes a step up on that front, he could absolutely make the jump. It will be fun to see how he’s developed.