Over the offseason, the Chicago Bears addressed their secondary depth, signing Rashard Fant, John Franklin III, Tyrin Holloway, Michael Joseph, Nick Orr, and Kevin Tolliver as undrafted free agents and Jonathon Mincy from the Canadian Football League.
This season, those rookies will join an already healthy group in Chicago, including Prince Amukamara, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, Adrian Amos, Eddie Jackson, DeAndre Houston Carson, Cre’von LeBlanc, Deiondre’ Hall, Deon Bush, Marcus Cooper, and Doran Grant.
But you can never have enough talent in the defensive backfield – especially when you’re facing three Pro Bowl caliber quarterbacks in your own division – and GM Ryan Pace made it a habit to pluck guys for the secondary in each of his first three drafts in Chicago. However, that’s not what happened this year. Indeed, this past April, the Bears opted not to select a single cornerback, safety, or hybrid type in the draft, which was a bit surprising.
And because of that choice, the team might just dip their toe into the rarely (but not never!) meaningful supplemental draft in search of additional talent. Indeed, Pro Football Weekly’s Eric Edholm lists the Bears as one of the teams that might consider doing just that.
And to that end, NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang reports that Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal, and Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant are expected to petition the NFL to gain entry into the supplemental draft, which exists for players who did not enter the NFL Draft for particularly unique circumstances.*
Alexander has dealt with academic problems and a suspension due to a positive marijuana test, but was effective when he was on the field. He started two of the nine games he played last season and has seven interceptions in 34 career games. Edholm reports Bryant, for another example, was once timed at an eye-popping 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That speed could be appealing to a number of teams. Beal might be the prospect held in the highest regard, though. The 6-1, 190-pound cornerback was second-team All-MAC and would have been considered a top prospect for the 2019 draft had he stayed in school.
Obviously, the Bears don’t figure to be alone in their interest. Edholm also lists the Cardinals, Bills, Cowboys, Colts, Chiefs, Rams, Saints, Giants, Jets, and Seahawks as teams who didn’t draft defensive backs in 2018 who could have their eyes on doing so in the supplemental draft. Even teams who did pick cornerbacks and safeties in the middle rounds (such as the Texans, Jaguars, Raiders, 49ers, Titans, Redskins) might be interested in tapping into this little-used resource.
Each of these three players are quality prospects who could help boost the stock of whichever rookie class they join.
*The Bears haven’t used a supplemental draft choice since 2010 when it selected BYU fullback Harvey Unga in the seventh round. Unga withdrew from school after violating the school’s honor code, hence, his availability and entrance into the draft.