Chicago Bears: Will Ian Bunting continue to impress at training camp?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears have had a few undrafted free agents stand out and Ian Bunting is no exception.

Recently we have highlighted a couple of undrafted free agents who have impressed the Chicago Bears coaching staff through minicamp. During the Bears 100 celebration, defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano identified two players that had impressed him so far — Chuck Harris and Mathieu Betts.

However, during that same panel discussion, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich chimed in with a name of his own who was impressing thus far. The name he provided is that of tight end Ian Bunting out of The University of California.

The 6-foot-7, 256 pound Bunting spent the majority of his career at the University of Michigan before transferring to Cal for his final year, where he caught 18 passes for 195 yards. Bunting brings a ton of size and athleticism to a position of both need and priority for head coach Matt Nagy.

During his time in Kansas City with the Chiefs, Nagy had one of the league’s best in Travis Kelce and he was utilized often. It demonstrated just how important the position is in Nagy’s offense.

In steps Bunting, who enters a tight end group lacking depth and consistency. Trey Burton missed the playoff game with a groin injury and is currently shelved after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia. Adam Shaheen has had injury problems of his own and Ben Braunecker adds a little depth at the “F” tight end position behind Shaheen.

In other words, the opportunity is there for Bunting to take advantage and he appears to be making the most of his opportunity. While Bunting impressed at minicamp, he began to make an impression on the Bears during their “local day” prior to the draft. The team apparently saw something that they liked and thought highly enough of him to warrant guaranteed money for an UDFA.

Bunting is big and athletic and is an interesting prospect on a number of levels. While at Michigan, he primarily served as a blocking tight end, so he could easily provide depth at the “Y” tight end position behind Bradley Sowell. However, he also flashed his potential thus far as a receiving tight end and could slide into the “F” slot as well. For a position that is lacking depth, Bunting’s ability to play multiple roles will be seen as a huge benefit to the Bears.

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There are so many intriguing storylines and position battles heading into training camp, but the one that I’ll be watching closely is the tight end battle. While there is much to be decided, Bunting has put himself in solid position by getting off to a hot start.