The Chicago Bears are a run-first football team. So it makes sense for them to explore any and all possible ways to make it better. Back in the spring, the team seemed to have serious interest in Northern Illinois fullback Clint Ratkovich. He was known as a “super back” who played multiple roles, including running back, fullback, and H-back. His versatility made him a headache for defenses. He scored 15 touchdowns (13 on the ground and two through the air) in his final season with the Huskies. His blocking also helped teammate Jevyon Duckner rush for 1,184 yards.
Draft evaluators saw a player with good size, toughness, and sneaky athleticism. His versatility drew comparisons to Kyle Juszczyk, the San Francisco 49ers’ six-time Pro Bowler. It isn’t a surprise the Bears are interested. They run a similar offense to the 49ers. So a player like Ratkovich would have significant appeal. He likely would have been on a roster sooner if not for an ill-timed ACL injury right before the draft. Based on typical recovery time, he should be nearing full health by the start of December. So hearing Chicago has worked him out isn’t a surprise.
The Chicago Bears have every reason to sign him.
Khari Blasingame is the current starting fullback for Chicago. While he’s done a solid job in that role, he hasn’t done much beyond blocking. Also, he will be a free agent again in the spring. So if the Bears wanted a possible alternative in place, then signing Ratkovich makes sense. It depends on whether he’s healthy and makes a positive impression. He would be eligible to sign a futures contract at the end of the season. Chicago may use this workout as a way to see where his recovery is at. If it’s promising, he may likely sign with them in January.
This isn’t what you’d call a flashy idea. Fullbacks don’t get much love in today’s league. Still, they carry plenty of importance in certain offences. The Chicago Bears are one of them. They are committed to running the ball until they can put an offensive line in place that protects Justin Fields. For that, you traditionally need a fullback. What makes Ratkovich attractive is he can do even more as a receiver or short-yardage runner.