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VIEWS: Lynch an interesting undrafted free agent

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2014 9:18 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, May 11, 2014 11:14 p.m. CDT
(File photo by Monica Maschak – mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch attempts to run the ball in for a touchdown in the second quarter against Ball State on Nov. 13 in DeKalb. Lynch was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Bears this past weekend.

Jordan Lynch isn’t your average undrafted free agent.

The former Northern Illinois football star and third-place finisher in the 2013 Heisman Trophy balloting always believed he’s deserved a shot at quarterback.

And this writer who watched him dominate the past two years believes the same thing.

Maybe Lynch still gets a shot with the Bears, a team he agreed to terms with as an undrafted free agent after he was passed over in the 2014 NFL Draft. Former NIU safety Jimmie Ward was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the 30th overall pick, while defensive tackle Ken Bishop was taken by the Cowboys in the seventh round. Defensive end Joe Windsor was signed by Dallas as an undrafted free agent as well.

But if the Bears’ brass doesn’t think Lynch is a quarterback, he has the luxury of having other options most of the quarterbacks who were selected this weekend or signed as free agents don’t have.

Lynch signed with the Bears to play running back, a position analysts have predicted he would fit well at should quarterback not work out, and it will be interesting to see how well he sticks there, and if there are any type of wildcat-type packages the Bears use him in.

There are plenty of college quarterbacks who switched positions in the NFL. Antwaan Randle-El was a stud at Indiana before moving on to be a Pro Bowl wideout in the NFL. Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was a quarterback at Kent State. He even played some defensive back for New England three years ago. Michael Robinson was Penn State’s signal-caller before the San Francisco 49ers switched him to running back.

Brian Mitchell became a record-setting return man after playing quarterback at Southwestern Louisiana (now Louisiana-Lafayette).

While Lynch has flaws that forced him to settle for being an undrafted free agent, he proved enough at NIU to deserve a shot to play under center. Sure, all 32 teams passed on him, but NIU was the only team to offer him a scholarship to play quarterback when he was coming out of Mt. Carmel High School, and that turned out alright.

Maybe he becomes a full-time running back, maybe he still gets a shot as a quarterback. It’s a great luxury Lynch will be able to take advantage of.

• Steve Nitz is the Daily Chronicle's NIU beat writer. Write to him at snitz@shawmedia.com and follow him on Twitter @SNitz_DDC.

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