The Chicago Bears aren’t afraid to go to great lengths to find players they feel could help them.
The Chicago Bears will try just about anything to try to get the right players to help them win. General manager Ryan Pace will scour the land to find players. He likes finding little-known players who contribute. Sometimes he’ll find that diamond in the rough, sometimes he doesn’t.
This season, Pace found some interesting players. He found a kicker who got into football when the University of Nevada had an open tryout less than a week before their season opener in 2017. The Bears also found a player who came from South Africa and was a rugby player and weightlifter. Now that’s scouring if you ask me.
First, let’s meet Ramiz Ahmed. The Las Vegas native kicked for powerhouse high school Bishop Gorman. After graduation, and for three years afterward, however, he didn’t play. He attended Arizona State and UNLV as a regular student. Then he went to Nevada and when they announced an open tryout six days before their season opener, he decided to go for it.
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When he kicked, the coaches said the ball just sounded different. There was a thud when he hit the ball. His kicks were inconsistent but boy did he have a powerful leg. He ended up making the team. After the 2017 season, Ahmed worked hard on his craft. He put in a lot of work and it paid off when he became the starter the next season.
After graduating, he decided to continue to hone his craft. No NFL team came calling but he still put in the work to improve. He worked with kicking guru Jamie Kohl, who happens to be a consultant for the Chicago Bears.
In March, there was a showcase camp that Pace attended. He was impressed with Ahmed’s leg power. He said that Ahmed didn’t miss until he kicked from 57 yards, per the Chicago Sun-Times:
I think he turned a lot of heads.
Pace and the Bears were impressed enough to give him a shot to kick for the Bears. He’ll be in a kicking competition with Eddy Pineiro, who won the incredible kicking competition the team had last year. Pineiro had his ups and downs in 2019 but has the leg up again this year. The Bears don’t want him to feel too comfortable.
Ahmed’s always been an underdog, though, and has ended up on top. He’s earned a shot at doing it on the biggest stage.
Chicago Bears pick up lineman from another continent who played another sport
So Chicago Bears fans clamored for help on the offensive line. Pace went out and signed tackle Jason Spriggs and guard Germain Ifedi. Both players struggled with their previous teams and signed for nearly the league minimum. Pace went out and drafted two linemen with his final two picks in the seventh round as well.
Another signing Pace made was undrafted rookie Dieter Eiselen. It’s safe to say that Eiselen had the most unusual route to the NFL. He is from South Africa and growing up he was a rugby player and a weightlifter. All he knew about American football he got from Friday Night Lights and The Waterboy.
Eiselen really fell in love with football when he watched Notre Dame beat Stanford in an overtime thriller in 2012. After watching that game, Eiselen’s only interest was in football. He came to America to perform at a camp. He received some walk-on offers but decided he could do better. He didn’t know what he was doing and some schools were somewhat interested. With more preparation, he’d get a scholarship so he. went to a private preparatory college in Connecticut.
Before he even started at the private school, Eiselen attended a camp at Yale. He performed so well that Yale offered him a scholarship. Off to New Haven he went.
Despite having to learn on the fly, Eiselen became the starting left guard midway through his freshman season and never looked back. He flourished at Yale and in his senior season agents called him. He didn’t even think about the NFL when he got to Yale but now he felt he actually had a shot.
Eiselen measures in at 6-4 and weighs 310 pounds. He is athletic as well. What Bears fans will love about him is how he plays with a nasty streak, per the team’s official website:
“I really pride myself on being physical. I want to set the tone physically. Anyone can be physical at times and a good player at times. But I want to be a great player at all times. I want to be a player who finishes plays, too. I think that’s sometimes the difference in being a great offensive lineman is just that willingness to finish. Run blocking or pass blocking, it’s just having that type of mentality and putting in the hard work required to do that.”
Eiselen has the attitude we’re used to seeing from a Chicago Bears lineman. He’s mean, nasty, and physical. Those are the same characteristics that endeared recently retired lineman Kyle Long to the fans. Those are also the characteristics that the current line lacks. If he can handle the pro game and finds himself on the team he may be able to contribute eventually.
Pace and the Bears went through some unusual lengths to find players. If these guys are able to make the team and contribute then kudos to him and his scouting team.