These days, you need three good cornerbacks to defend the multiple receiver looks that are so popular around the NFL. It also helps to have some variance in size to defend the taller outside receivers and the shorter, shiftier slot guys. Matching up with tight ends on occasion requires a corner with toughness and strength.
The Chicago Bears, on paper at least, have three guys that they should feel comfortable with.
When trying to determine what the Bears will keep at cornerback, from a numbers standpoint, for the final 53 man roster, we have to look back at what head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio did in Denver and San Francisco respectively.
In Denver the last two seasons they kept 6 corners each year and in San Francisco they kept 5 each year. Not a lot of help I know, but I think it's safe to say that at least a couple spots on the bottom of the depth chart are up for grabs.
One of the things I'm most looking forward to this season is the development of Kyle Fuller. I think he has the athleticism, the ball skills and the toughness to become a very good corner. And now with a competent defensive coordinator running the show, I think he'll flourish.
Whether Tim Jennings starts opposite Fuller or plays nickle, I think he's in for a rebound season. I'm not as down on his 2014 as some, in fact I thought be played OK all things considered. And by all things, I mean being part of the train-wreck Mel Tucker defense. There was a lot of soft coverage and not much creativity from the front 7 in getting after the quarterback. Jennings may not have played with the same kind of intensity you'd like from a veteran Pro Bowler, but I think playing for John Fox and Vic Fangio will be a resurgence for him.
Alan Ball played decent football the last couple seasons in Jacksonville and the 30 year old will be looking to parlay his 1 year deal into one last long term contract. He has the length and physicality to be a key contributor for the Bears, he just has to prove he's fully recovered from the biceps injury that ended his 2014 season.
A good bet to make it
I've always liked Sherrick McManis as a reserve corner, not only because he's a solid special teamer, but also because he's looked capable at defensive back the last two preseasons. I think his special teams ability will at the very least keep him on as the 5th or 6th corner.
I know Tracy Porter brings a bunch of experience with him (60 starts in 7 years), I just don't see him beating out Fuller, Jennings or Ball. The Bears may want a reserve with Porter's experience, because Fuller was dinged up most of 2014 and Ball missed 9 games last season. Then again, Porter missed 13 games last year due to a shoulder injury. I would rather see one of the young CBs step up and push Porter off the roster, but that is yet to be seen.
On the bubble
I think Al Louis-Jean has the best chance of the bubble guys to make waves during training camp. He gained some valuable experience last year as a 21 year old rookie and he has good length for the position. If he matured mentally and physically this offseason, he could surprise.
Demontre Hurst ended up as the nickleback last year, but nothing really stood out about his play. He seemed to give up a lot of catches in front of him, but I'm not sure if that was on him or the scheme. According to Pro Football Focus, teams completed 33 of 38 passes thrown at him for a 132.7 passer rating.
Terrance Mitchell was a 7th round pick of the Cowboys in 2014, but he was cut and added to the Bears' practice squad. He was activated to the 53 man roster for the second half of the season, but he didn't see any in game action.
Five Questions With Underdog Dynasty about Jacoby Glenn
We're visiting the SB Nation college sites of the Chicago Bears' rookie class to gain some insight on their newest players. Today we'll talk to Chas Short and Mitchell Alexander of Underdog Dynasty about undrafted free agent Jacoby Glenn, a cornerback from the University Of Central Florida.
Of the three undrafted rookie corners on the roster, Jacoby Glenn, Qumain Black and Bryce Callahan, I think Glenn has the most potential. He may not have a body ready for the NFL yet (6', 179 pounds), but a year on the practice squad could give the Bears a sleeper in 2016.
What are your thoughts on the cornerback depth chart?