The Bears bolstered their secondary with the third of their sixth-round picks, selecting cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. out of Oregon with the No. 228 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Graham opted out of the 2020 season, but his production at the collegiate level still sticks out. With 8 interceptions and 32 pass deflections over the course of three seasons, he was able to consistently make plays at the cornerback position during his time with the Ducks.
A Senior Bowl standout, Graham won over the hearts of analysts and evaluators with his sticky coverage that was also apparent on tape. He is an intelligent defender and a quick processor with a high understanding of route concepts and how to defend them. He is patient with his footwork, fluid in coverage and offers good downhill speed as a tackler.
I went to the tape to break down what Graham brings to the Bears’ secondary, specifically as a slot defender.
THREAD: The #Bears found an intelligent and technically-sound cornerback in Oregon’s Thomas Graham Jr. in Round 6.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) May 1, 2021
Graham is a quick processor with very good route-recognition ability.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) May 1, 2021
Here he is against 2020 draft pick Isaiah Hodgins; he’s patient, diagnoses quickly and has very good footwork. #Bears pic.twitter.com/2sl5WynIlY
Graham really impressed me at the Senior Bowl in a setting that’s very tough for DBs to excel.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) May 1, 2021
He dominated one-on-ones against top competition and was incredibly stick in coverage all week. #Bears pic.twitter.com/pr5xWSb2TY
Graham opted out of the 2020 season but was super productive in his collegiate career.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) May 1, 2021
8 interceptions and 32 pass deflections in three seasons. He has good ball skills and can read the eyes of quarterbacks well to time his jumps on routes. #Bears pic.twitter.com/1e0tWBnFaP
With inside and outside versatility, great ball production and a high football IQ, Thomas Graham Jr. is a nice addition to the #Bears’ secondary this late.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) May 1, 2021
I’m glad they made an addition to their cornerback room, and I’m even happier the player they drafted was Graham.
Our Bear With Me podcast has been firing through the entire draft class on an individual pod by pod basis, so give a listen to Robert Schmitz as he’s joined by Jacob Infante to break down Thomas Graham’s game.