The 10 Most Important Bears of 2013 - #7 Tim Jennings

USA TODAY Sports

For the 5th straight year, I'm bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the 2013 season. Coming in at #7 were back to the defensive side of the ball, with cornerback Tim Jennings.

Spoiler Alert: Tim Jennings is the only Chicago Bears corner on my list this year.

I know exactly what you are thinking, 'What no Kelvin Hayden?'

While I do think Hayden is a good veteran back up to have, with his experience as both a nickle and on the outside, I'm just not 100% sold on him being critical to the Bears success in 2013.

Wait a minute, Hayden's not the corner you are surprised I'm leaving off my list?

Oh, then you are probably thinking about the other starting corner, Charles Tillman. The Charles Tillman that is one of the top corners in the game today. The Charles Tillman that is putting up Hall worthy stats. The Charles Tillman that has made 2 straight Pro Bowls. The Charles Tillman that is a pro's pro, and one of the leaders on the team.

Gotcha.

All the reasons above are exactly why I didn't find him a spot for Tillman on my top 10 most important Chicago Bears list. I fully expect him to continue his stellar play in 2013. It's not because I take him for granted, it's because I know what to expect from Tillman year in and year out.

He's only missed six games the last eight seasons, and he plays as physical a corner as anybody. He's averaged over 80 total tackles per season in his 10 year NFL career, and he will find a way to take the ball away.

Now on to the guy playing opposite Tillman. Tim Jennings has to prove that his 2012 season wasn't a fluke. Just one year removed from being benched (2011), Jennings came out and performed at a Pro Bowl level in 2012. He's never shied away from contact, playing his entire career as a Tampa 2 corner, first in Indianapolis and for the last three years in Chicago. He plays much bigger than his listed 5'8".

After being told his ball skills were lacking, Jennings went to work in the off season last year. He answered his critics with a league leading 9 interceptions, and a runner up 30 passes defended. According to Pro Football Focus, among those CBs that took over half their teams snaps, Jennings gave up the 3rd lowest QB rating (53.3) on balls thrown into his coverage.

If Jennings can come close to his 2012 level of play, quarterbacks will have to pick their poison when throwing the ball. Which Pro Bowl corner should they try and pick on...

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