There is nothing wrong with a little bit of late-round double-dipping on draft weekend, especially at a position where depth is always appreciated.
The Bears selected defensive back Stephen Denmark from Valdosta State with their final pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
What Denmark lacks in name-brand recognition and school pedigree, he makes up with size and speed in a big way. Denmark checks in at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds. He has long arms (33-3/8 inches), big hands (9-5/8 inches), and actually started his college career as a wide receiver. We’ll have to keep store that in our memory bank somewhere for future reference because we know how much Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy loves to pull players out of the defensive huddle and incorporate them on the offensive side of the ball.
Denmark didn’t participate at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, but he posted a 4.46-second 40-yard dash time and 43.5-inch vertical leap at his pro day. Those are eye-popping numbers, to be sure.
This particular draft choice feels like a Chuck Pagano special. The Bears new defensive coordinator utilized tall defensive backs in his scheme back when he was running the show for the Ravens. In fact, Baltimore’s first draft pick with Pagano as the DC was Jimmy Smith, a cornerback who measured 6-foot-2, weighed 211 pounds, owned arms that came out to 32-1/4 inches, and hands at 9-3/4 inches. Denmark is a far more raw talent than Smith, who was a refined first-round pick out of Colorado, but you can see the similarities if you’re willing to squint a little.
And with that, the Bears are done drafting in 2019. They didn’t take a quarterback, tight end, defensive lineman, edge rusher, linebacker, safety, or kicker, so it’s not like there isn’t work to be done on the undrafted free agent market. Let’s stay tuned to see what happens in that arena, because you never know when the next UDFA diamond-in-the-rough becomes a gem.