Both GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus have offered endorsements of Justin Fields at quarterback. All signs point to him being the firm starter moving forward. Everything will be geared around making Fields as successful as possible. However, it appears the team is pursuing significant changes to the depth chart behind him. They’ve already added veteran Trevor Siemian on a two-year deal, feeling his skillset fits their new offense better than Nick Foles.
That might not be all either. The team might also consider adding some cheap youth to the mix from the incoming college class. That is not to say they will draft somebody else in the early rounds. More likely, it would be a late-round flier or an undrafted free agent. Somebody they can bring to training camp as an extra body and perhaps develop moving forward. That would explain why they recently met with South Dakota State quarterback Chris Oladokun.
Arizona Cardinals worked out South Dakota State quarterback Chris Oladokun privately today in Tampa, Fla, per a league source. Regarded as a fast-rising draft prospect, he has already met previously with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears #Cardinals #NFLDraft
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 29, 2022
A classic underdog story.
He had a solid high school career and ended up at Southern Florida. When it became clear he wouldn’t get the opportunity he wanted there, Oladokun took the longer route. He transferred to Samford University and became their starting quarterback in 2019. That season ended with him throwing for 2,058 yards, 18 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also had 127 yards and eight touchdowns rushing. Plans were for him to finish things out in 2020. Then the pandemic happened. Football at lower division levels was canceled.
Undeterred, he transferred to South Dakota State for the 2021 season. There he blossomed, throwing for 3,164 yards, 25 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Oladokun also added 166 yards and two scores on the ground. At 6’2, he has the necessary size for the NFL and seemed to handle himself well against adversity. It has proven difficult for him to get noticed like any small school prospect.
We are counting down the top plays of 2019!
— Samford Football (@SamfordFootball) April 10, 2020
— Sam Herder (@SamHerderFCS) September 25, 2021
Chris Oladokun looking sharp in passing drills. pic.twitter.com/zMTduK5rli
— Matt Zimmer (@argusmattz) March 23, 2022
Chicago Bears see potential in Oladokun
Most quarterbacks that end up going undrafted as he likely will never amount to anything in the NFL. Still, there are rare exceptions. That is why teams take risks on them anyway. Oladokun has the talent necessary to make a go of it in the pros. His arm strength is adequate, and his accuracy can be impressive when given a clean pocket. The mobility is also a bonus. No doubt it’s a reason the Bears are interested since he would be a better fit for the offense they’re building around fields.
The concerns with Oladokun are typical of his type. His footwork tends to be all over the place when dropping back to pass, leading to some passes sailing on him. He also doesn’t handle pressure that well, throwing balls begging to get intercepted or taking sacks. Such issues can be corrected with time and enough work. As to whether he can handle the massive speed increase in the NFL?
Nobody will know until he gets there.
The Chicago Bears appear interested in granting him that chance. It would be a fun move for Oladokun. He’d get to follow in the footsteps of one of his childhood idols, Daunte Culpepper, by playing in the NFC North. Florida always produces good football players. He’d be a fun training camp story to follow.
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