Last year, when the primary backup cornerback was an undrafted free agent, the Chicago Bears received 16 starts from one corner and 15 from the other. The Bears did have to use a back up at nickel when the number one went down with an injury, but they turned to a veteran to fill the role. Relatively speaking, the team was fortunate in the health department in 2018.
If the Bears aren’t so lucky with injuries in 2019, are you comfortable with the reserves this time?
Kyle Fuller finally broke through in a big way by being named as a first team All-Pro after leading the NFL in interceptions and passes defended. I’m old enough to remember back when the Packers signed Fuller to an offer sheet, only to see the Bears quickly match it, then listening to Packer fans brag about how their team tricked the Bears into re-signing Fuller.
The other starting corner is veteran Prince Amukamara, who at 30-years old, is coming off one of his best seasons as a pro. His three interceptions tied a career high, and he recorded the first touchdown of his career.
At nickelback, the Bears lost Bryce Callahan to the Denver Broncos, so they doubled down at the position and added Buster Skrine in free agency and drafted Duke Shelley in the sixth-round. The 30-year old Skrine has played both outside and in the slot during his career, so if he’s beat out by the rookie, he could provide some experienced insurance. Shelley is a player that the coaches mentioned as having a good offseason.
I’d normally have special teams ace Sherrick McManis in this spot, but he appears to be a full time safety now.
A good bet to make it
Kevin Toliver II was the first corner off the bench a year ago, and he picked up the start in the one game that Prince missed. He wasn’t tested very often in that game, but he was a high ceiling type of player when the Bears signed him as a UDFA out of LSU.
The Bears carried six corners last year, so if they do that again, this next group is in for a heck of a battle.
On the bubble
Seventh-round draft pick Stephen Denmark is a great athlete and at 6’3”, 220 pounds he’d be one of the bigger corners in the league, but his technique is raw after converting from wide out at Valdosta State before his junior season. If he can show a knack for special teams, the Bears may live with him as the 6th corner and look to develop his skills on the active roster.
UDFA Clifton Duck has nickel size (5’10”, 170), but he was extremely productive on the outside at Appalachian State.
John Franklin III is one of the fastest players in the NFL, and he spent some time on the Bears’ practice squad a year ago.
Michael Joseph is another corner that was on the Bears’ practice squad in 2018. When I was at camp Sunday he had a few physical hits during 11 on 11s.
Jonathon Mincy gives the Bears some position flexibility with his ability to play anywhere in the secondary, and he’s another 2018 practice squader.
If the Bears cut Stephen Denmark, will he make it back to the practice squad?
This poll is closed