Probably one of the most overlooked events of every offseason for an NFL team is their local pro day. For those who don’t know, this is something the Chicago Bears host each year, where they’re allowed to invite several college prospects to a workout from all across the country. There is one criterion they must meet to attend, though. They must be native to the Chicagoland area. For example, last year, the Bears had prospects from places as far as Dartmouth.
It isn’t usually a hotbed of top talent, but sometime it might yield a surprise or two that could play their way onto the roster. For example, Cameron Meredith was a tryout player at the Bears’ pro day in 2015. He parlayed that into a training camp invitation, made the team, and became their most productive receiver with just shy of 900 yards in 2016. People still wonder how good he might’ve been if not for that catastrophic knee injury.
Now the Bears are hoping for another hidden gem emerges this week. One name might.
The Chicago Bears have invited punter Matt Ference, wide receiver Tyrice Richie, and fullback Clint Ratkovich to their local pro day next week, per sources.
—Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) March 30, 2022
Tyrice Richie was born in Chicago. He went to high school at Homewood-Flossmoor and eventually attended Northern Illinois University as a wide receiver. This is the same program that produced Kenny Golladay. So it’s not something to dismiss out of hand. His career can be categorized as consistent. He had at least 400 yards in each of his three seasons with 1,552 total and nine touchdowns. His 592 yards in six games in 2020 was what caught the attention of many evaluators.
NIU WR Tyrice Richie is a waterbug able to change directions quickly and leave DBs in his wake. Former JC wideout can be used inside and outside because of his speed. He is not contact-shy. Must be consistent catching the ball in 2021 to earn draftable grades. #SnapScout22 pic.twitter.com/dSo9WsyEOp
— Chad Reuter (@chad_reuter) May 27, 2021
Heads up play by Tyrice Richie. Gets tackled but never officially hits the ground. Whistle doesn’t blow, and Richie completes the 71-yard sprint to the house for an NIU touchdown. pic.twitter.com/OmbMP9C0qC
—Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) November 27, 2019
Things never ascended beyond that. He leveled out in 2021. This is largely why he’s expected to go undrafted. Still, the young man has talent. His reputation at NIU was quickness, sharp route-running, and a fearless mentality before and after the catch. Contact doesn’t scare him. There was a definite after-the-catch ability the Huskies never seemed willing or able to exploit.
Richie comes across as somebody that will battle his way onto the back end of a roster, excel on special teams, and eventually become that receiver people forget about until he makes a really nice play every so often during games. The Chicago Bears have homefield advantage thanks to this pro day. If positive impressions are made both ways, he could be on their roster by next month.
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