Two years ago, former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo spent a seventh-round supplemental draft pick on running back Harvey Unga from BYU. The Bears were a bit low on RB depth at the time, so the move seemed to fit what the Bears were thinking about for the future.
Unga was a pretty good college player: he was fast, big and caught the ball well out of the backfield.
He was given the Lovie Smith redshirt in year one, and then in year two was put on the protected reserve list with personal problems. Since then, the Bears seemed to move on from Unga—with the return of Matt Forte to health, the emergence of Kahlil Bell and the Bears consistently grabbing backup RBs in free agency, Unga became an afterthought.
Part of what contributed to that was fact that the Mike Martz offense doesn't utilize a tight end or a fullback. Now flash forward to the Mike Tice offense, and Unga's emergence as a contender to make the 53-man roster.
Yes, you read that right: the biggest afterthought coming into this season is now a possibility to make the roster as a fullback, because of his previously mentioned versatility.
Harvey Unga has the ideal size for a fullback, at 6'0" and 245 lbs. He's been switched to that position and has excelled because he has speed, is nimble and reins in catches well. His soft hands are an asset in the Mike Tice offense, because Tice has shown the ability to get any player involved in the offense.
Unga has even shown the willingness to block and is learning to do it well. Combine this with his other attributes and he is pushing Tyler Clutts for the starting FB spot.
Clutts is a good fullback, but he is a traditional one in every since of the word—he's a blocker first and foremost. After Clutts' blocking ability, he doesn't bring much else to the table. He has hands of stone, which really limits his value to the offense.
This is where Unga excels, and he did as much in college. The only question with Unga was how physical can he be, and he's answering that question with each passing day.
Now entering the four most important games of Unga's career, he has the chance to use his versatility to stick on offense.
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