Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman was recently announced as October's NFC defensive player of the month. This comes hot on the heels of Chicago's Tim Jennings being awarded the same accolade for September.
Without doubt, the Bears defense is playing at a consistently high level, and while a lot of the focus seems to be on the front four and linebackers Brain Urlacher and Lance Briggs, the Chicago secondary is starting to make people stand up and take notice.
Bears fans have been well aware of just how good a cornerback Charles 'peanut' Tillman is. Just as a quick side note, according to Wikipedia, Tillman was given the nickname 'peanut' by an aunt who thought his body resembled the shape of a peanut during pregnancy. Ten points to anyone who already knew that.
Nicknames aside, 31 year old Tillman was drafted by the Bears in the second round of the 2003 draft, and has been a regular starter ever since. However, in 2004, due to a knee injury, he played just eight games, and this remains the only season in which he had no interceptions.
At 6'2 and 198 lbs, Tillman is well sized and proves a good matchup for the big wide receivers in the league. We saw this in the recent game against Detroit Lions, where he literally shut Calvin Johnson down, limiting the Lions WR to just three receptions for 34 yards.
Known for his ability to punch at the ball to cause fumbles, Tillman was finally voted to his first Pro Bowl at the end of the 2011 season. If he carries on playing the way he is this year, there's no reason why he won't make the trip to Hawaii this year as well.
On the other side of the field, Tim Jennings is quickly emerging as one of the league's up and coming cornerbacks. Smaller than Tillman at 5'8 and 185 lbs, Jennings was drafted in 2006 by the Indianapolis Colts, and won a Super Bowl ring with them the year they beat the Bears (sorry to remind everyone).
As a free agent, Jennings signed with the Bears in 2010, and has played in every game ever since. During his first two seasons in Chicago, he totalled just three interceptions, compared to the six he has already grabbed this year. It's easy to see why Jennings is turning heads and picking up defensive player of the month awards.
He leads the league with those six picks, and is third amongst all Bears with 39 tackles. Jennings has excellent instincts and uses his speed to react quickly to plays. He is also pretty useful on special teams too.
The Bears have good depth at the cornerback position, with players such as D.J Moore and Kelvin Hayden bolstering the ranks. I still think D.J Moore is grossly underrated as an NFL cornerback, and he plays a valuable part in the Bears defense. The last two seasons, Moore has totalled eight interceptions and he has two so far this year. I've always thought the Bears should try and use him a little on offense, given that he played some in his college days at Vanderbilt. Check out what D.J said about being the best Chicago Bears player to come out of Vanderbilt HERE.
Don't get me wrong, there are some top cornerbacks out there. The 49ers look good with Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown. The Giants have some depth and the Rams have quality players in Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins.
But it's the Bears that top the list for me. Tillman is having another great season, and is finally getting the nationwide recognition he deserves, and hopefully Tim Jennings will continue to get better and prove he can be one of the best in the league.
What do you think? Do the Bears have the best cornerbacks in the NFL?