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The Bears’ secondary will be the most competitive defensive position in camp

Much like the running back group will be very competitive once training camp opens in five weeks, so will the secondary, especially at the corner position.

Buffalo Bills v Chicago Bears Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

If previous years are any indication, the Chicago Bears will more than likely keep nine players in the secondary on their 53-man roster. That would be five corners and four safeties, but it's the corner group that will be fun to watch once camp opens.

The way I see it, as of today, there are only two players that are sure to start opening day, outside corner Jaylon Johnson and slot corner Kyler Gordon. Johnson, who is entering his fourth year in the League, is a legitimate number one corner for most teams in the League. He can be physical vs the run and is excellent in press man and zone. The only area where he needs to improve is getting more interceptions. While he gets a number of PBUs, he only has one career pick. The Bears staff would like to see him get three or four in a single season.

Gordon, who was one of the Bears' second-round picks last year, started slowly as he had some injury issues and was playing in a new position as a slot corner. He played very well in the second half of the season and should only get better with experience.

Who will be the other outside corner opposite Johnson will be a key camp battle. The fan and media favorite is this year's second-round pick Tyrique Stevenson from Miami. He is a big, fast and physical press corner with all the natural tools to be a star in the League, but the job just won't be handed to him; he has to win it.

The player who the fan base is discounting but I think will provide a strong challenge is fourth-year man Kindle Vildor. Vildor did struggle early in his career, but the former fifth-round pick played his best football last year before he got injured. He can be very physical and has good ball skills. He also has a lot of experience as he has played in 44 games and started 22 during his career. If he does lose out in the competition, he could be worth something in a trade as teams prepare their 53-man rosters.

Last year two undrafted free agent rookies made the Bears squad. The first was Jaylon Jones from Ole Miss. Jones has size (5106 – 190) and runs a 4.41. He played in every game last year and had four starts after Vildor got injured. For the season, he played 464 defensive snaps as well as being a good special teams player. He can't be counted out, as he is too talented.

The other undrafted rookie was Josh Blackwell from Duke, who is a burner (4.33). He also played in every game last year but mostly as a special teams player. Being this is his second season, he should take a big step.

The last corner I can see challenging for a job is fifth-round draft choice Terrell Smith from Minnesota. Smith is the biggest corner the Bears have at 6004 – 210 with 4.41 speed. He is very physical, can play man and zone equally well, and has the hitting ability to be a special teams star. At January's East–West Game, he was the best corner on either roster. I feel the Bears got a steal getting him in the fifth round.

A few others will compete, but in my opinion, they have a long way to go to catch the above six.

The Safety position is a little different. There are two very solid starters in former Pro Bowler Eddie Jackson at free safety and last year's other second-round pick Jaquan Brisker.

After a quick start to his career, Jackson leveled out for a couple of seasons but came back strong under the new coaching staff last year. He is the perfect free safety for this scheme. Early in his career he wasn't known as a very physical guy, but that changed last year and he also became a strong leader.

Brisker is a future All-Pro. He has size, strength and speed and is one of the more physical safeties in the League. I feel that the sky is the limit for how good he can become.

Depth at the safety position is a question. Going into camp, the two leading backups are draft picks from last year and this. Last year Elijah Hicks was selected in the seventh round, and he got some valuable play time but not enough to say he is the answer to becoming the third safety. The same can be said for this year's seventh-round pick Kendall Williamson. Both are size/speed prospects, but both are raw. Can either be counted on if Jackson or Brisker go down?

The third safety in the last few seasons has been DeAndre Houston-Carson. Houston-Carson could be counted on to play well if the starter went down. He was also an excellent special teams player. Being that he is still on the street as a free agent, it wouldn't surprise me if the Bears bring him back before camp opens. If that happens, the depth at the safety position will be excellent. Houston-Carson would be the third man, and Hicks and Williamson would compete for the fourth slot.

Whether Houston-Carson returns or not, Chicago's secondary is in good shape. There is size, speed, and talent, albeit some inexperienced talent at every position. Come mid-season, the secondary could be a strong point on this Bears' defense.