Defensive tackle Zach Minter’s fumble recovery against the Panthers might look like a case of a player being in the right place at the right time.

But it’s what the undrafted rookie from Montana State did to get to that place that has the Bears talking. Minter plowed through Panthers guard Hayworth Hicks and into the backfield where a botched handoff led to a loose ball.

“You know what? He has been impressive” defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said Monday. “We’ve taken note of Zach because he’s strong. He has good initial quickness. He has a high motor. He’s all over the field. He finishes every play.”

At 6-1 297 pounds Minter is built like a bowling ball and always seems to be rolling into the backfield. He has earned snaps with the second-team defense and has a real chance at making the Bears if his strong play continues.

“You can see that he’s got a good get-off” defensive line coach Mike Phair said. “He’s got some tools and he’s just learning.”

The Bears kept an eye on Minter throughout the draft. A two-time All-Big Sky first-team selection Minter opened a lot of eyes at the NFL’s super-regional combine in Dallas and getting drafted late became a real possibility. When he wasn’t the Bears pounced.

It didn’t take Minter too long to impress. The Bears initially tried him at nose tackle but he recently has seen more time at the three-technique. Phair also has experimented with him at defensive end in some drills.