The Bears came into the off-season with a glaring need in the secondary, and that's trying to find a starting cornerback. They thought they had a rising star in 2008 draft pick Zackary Bowman, who in 2009 displayed the ball-hawking skills that the position had been missing for quite some time by intercepting six passes. Coming into the season the Bears thought they had their starting tandem solved with up-and-coming Bowman and longtime veteran Charles Tillman.
We all know the story regarding why Bowman was benched; essentially, Bowman never seem to develop the proper instincts (closing in on the receiver when the ball is being delivered to him and proper tackling). Enter Tim Jennings, who, although doesn't have Bowman size and ball skills, does have what Bowman lacks in instincts. Jennings showed the coaches that he can properly close in on receivers and tackle well enough to not allow YAC (Yards after the catch). Jennings is a serviceable corner, but his size and nack for falling for pump fakes/double moves by the QB and WR will always keep him back from being a quality starter, in my opinion.
Enter last year 5th round draft pick Joshua Moore, who appeared in just three games last season for special teams, but should be in competition this year in training camp for that #2 starting CB. Kicking off my player spotlight series (or Operation Don't Know What the Hell to Write About), I spotlight the former Kansas State wildcat standout CB.
Who is Joshua Moore?
At Kansas State, Moore got playing time from the get go breaking up six passes and recording his first interception in a game against rival Kansas Jayhawks. In 2008 he establish himself as one of the better tackling corners in the Big 12 conference while also improving with each game on his coverage skills which would later on in his career become his main strength. He finished his career with 175 tackles 6 INT's and 1.0 Sack according to ESPN.com. In the 2010 NFL Draft the Bears made him their #141 pick in the 5th round. What the Bears like about Moore is his ability to play man coverage and being an effective tackler despite his alarming 2 reps of 225 pounds at the 2010 NFL Combine. Moore also has good ball skills as he displayed that in last year off-season workouts intercepting and breaking up passes.
Realistic expectations for Joshua Moore this year
Previous history has shown that the Bears usually give 2nd second year corners every opportunity to become a starter. I thought it was interesting that the Bears passed on some talented CB's in the draft telling me that they are confident in Moore along with Jennings and Bowman. The one aspect that might give Moore the edge for the starting spot is that we know how Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo desperately want their draft picks to succeed. If Moore can show the tight coverage skills he displayed during his Kansas State Wildcat career, while also being effective in his assignments in Lovie and Rod Marinelli many zone coverage schemes he has a great shot at winning the job. It want come easy though as he will be facing a good veteran in Jennings, and Bowman who will be determine to prove to coaches that he's a starter on this team.