Bears Starting to Look Seriously at Highly Regarded Cornerback Prospects
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune on the Bears history of drafting cornerbacks:
“If you don’t count Devin Hester, who was listed as a cornerback in 2006 but was drafted as a returner in the second round with the plan to switch him to offense from Day 1, the Bears have not used a pick in the first three rounds on a cornerback since Tillman was a second-round selection in 2003. In the 10 drafts since, 122 corners have been drafted in the first three rounds.
“No other team in the league has gone that long without picking one in rounds 1 through 3.”
“The Bears have been able to go so long without turning their attention to the position because of [Charles] Tillman‘s longevity, the success of 2004 fourth-round pick Nathan Vasher and, more recently, free agent find Tim Jennings.”
Another reason is that the Bears were playing a base cover 2 defense for those years. The cover 2 is predicated on getting a pass rush from the front four and using your defensive backs in zone. High draft picks are spent on defensive linemen in such a system, not on cornerbacks who won’t be called upon to play much man-to-man coverage.
The fact that the Bears apparently are viewing the position as one that needs to be addressed with more urgency is yet another indication of the changes that are coming in the defensive scheme. Although Tillman and Jennings are excellent, the Bears are going to continue to need big, athletic cornerbacks who are versatile and can cover in a variety of packages.