This UDFA is locking down a role with Chicago Bears
One player that will be worth following on the Chicago Bears this offseason is Jake Tonges. Tonges was drafted as a tight end, but when the initial depth chart was released he has listed as a backup fullback and not a tight end.
This is notable for the Bears because it shows they are committed to having a fullback in the offense, but also for Tonges who went from a player hoping to get onto the practice squad, to a player that the offense seems to be invested in his development.
Jake Tonges has a role with Chicago Bears
Tonges got plenty of snaps at tight end, but that may have been because Cole Kmet, Ryan Griffin, and James O’Shaugnessy were all out for this game. Still, what was most notable about the game from Tonges were the snaps that he lined up at full-back.
Of the 27 snaps he played in his preseason debut, he spent eight in the backfield as a fullback. Below you can see one of the highlights of his day. The team is running an end around to Dazz Newsome, and Tonges is in the full-back spot, set to the right.
You can see Tonges get out in space and get across the line of scrimmage, leading the block from right to left. He gets into space and clears a lane helping extend a run from the 15-yard line to inside the ten.
The reality is that Tonges may not make the roster because Khari Blassingame is locked into the fullback role, and they have three tight ends over him already.
At the same time, what he may have done this offseason is locked himself onto the practice squad, ensuring that he is back with the team again next season. As a UDFA tight end turned fullback he is not going to get claimed off of the PS, but his commitment to switching roles, and flashing in the offense already is going to get him a lot of leeway with the coaching staff.
They are committed to developing him into an eventual starter at fullback and he is invested in spending a year learning the new position with a chance to excel at it next season. This is a great opportunity for both sides.