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Do the Bears have the Best Secondary in the NFC North?

ESPN's Kevin Seifert seems to think so, and I agree with him. But do the Bears have the youth and depth in the secondary to advance beyond 2013?


ESPN this week began running a division-by-division look at the secondaries around the NFL, and reading the NFC North's piece, I'm not sure there's a case for another North team to top the Bears at this point.

To be fair, I should probably put what Kevin Seifert put down for the Bears.

Chicago Bears: No team in this division is set up quite as well as the Bears, who have a pair of returning Pro Bowl cornerbacks in Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings along with two safeties in Major Wright and Chris Conte who started all but one game together last season. Veteran Kelvin Hayden won the nickelback job last season from the since-departed D.J. Moore, and the Bears also have a number of credible backups at safety, Craig Steltz among them. The Bears also want to find out about 2012 third-round draft pick Brandon Hardin, who missed last season because of a neck injury.

I don't think we can possibly expect (there's that word again!) Jennings to repeat the quantity of interceptions he stacked up last season, and Tillman is older, but both are still good, good players (particularly Tillman). And at safety, consider that Chris Conte and Major Wright only missed one game last year between them, and the duo currently has the most continuity as a safety tandem in the division.

We're talking about the Bears, who prior to this year took a safety in eight consecutive drafts, having continuity at the safety position. And with a pair of Angelo draft picks, no less...

I have to agree with Seifert (not that I want to disagree, of course). The Lions' group has some projection talent, but largely unproven. The Packers will have their first year without Charles Woodson since 2005 and a fair amount of competition at one safety spot and one starting cornerback spot. And like the Lions, the Vikings have some projection talent (particularly with first-round pick Xavier Rhodes) but largely unproven. And there's the matter of the safety spot opposite Harrison Smith.

Right now, the Bears' group is the best in the division, and potentially the NFC, but Tillman won't play forever, Jennings has to repeat the last couple seasons, and Wright will be coming up on a new deal after this season. So it comes to the depth - are the Bears in position in the secondary to move beyond 2014?