If you were to take a poll among those that have been in attendance at Chicago Bears’ camp about which position group has been the strongest, you’ll likely get quite a few mentions for the cornerbacks.
This could just be a veteran defense taking advantage of a brand new offense, but regardless, getting this good juju early could help boost their confidence for the long run. The coaching staff has been preaching turnovers, and after being among the league’s worst in interceptions the last three years, they need their top three corners to hold onto the ball in 2018.
Teams that have a good turnover differential generally win more than teams that don’t.
Chicago’s top three corners, Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, and nickleback Bryce Callahan, all received new contracts this offseason, and so far they’ve all looked good in camp. Fuller and Amukamara has stood out the most with daily interceptions. All these of these guys play a physical brand of football, but all three have had some injury issues in the past. Fuller played in all sixteen games last year after missing all of 2016. Amukamara hasn’t played a full season since 2013, and Callahan has never played more than last year’s twelve games.
If these three stay healthy, I have a lot of confidence in the position group in 2018.
A good bet to make it
I thought Cre’Von LeBlanc played solid football as a rookie in 2016, but last year his playing time on defense decreased to 212 snaps from 695 his first year. I think he probably sticks as the backup nickle.
I know Sherrick McManis hasn’t played much defense for the Bears the last couple years (only 49 snaps on D the last two seasons), but what he does on special teams is pretty special. He’s really good at what the Bears ask him to do and I think that wins him the final spot on the depth chart at corner.
On the bubble
Veteran Marcus Cooper may have the edge over some of the younger corners on the roster because of his experience, but a strong push from his competition and he could find himself cut by the Bears for the second time in his career.
Doran Grant has bounced around the league since 2015, and that was also the only year he saw any NFL action. The Bears are his fifth, and likely last, chance to make it as a pro.
Undrafted rookies Rashard Fant, John Franklin III, Michael Joseph, and Kevin Toliver II are all big long-shots to make the 53-man roster. Of these four, Toliver has stood out the most, but he still has a ways to climb up the depth chart.
Deiondre’ Hall is still listed as a corner on the Bears’ roster, but he’s listed at safety on their unofficial depth chart. Another player listed at corner on the roster, but listed at safety on the depth chart is Jonathon Mincy, who was a big time player in the Canadian Football League last year as a corner. I don’t think either of these players make the opening game roster.
The Bears have opened up with six corners on their roster in every year Vic Fangio has coordinated their defense, so if they do that again, which six do you have making the squad?