There were three things I felt certain would happen for the Chicago Bears on draft weekend. I figured they would draft a running back (but then again, who didn’t think that?) to round out that position group, choose a defensive back to bolster the collection of cornerbacks (or possibly safeties), and select a player whose background is relatively obscure and off the mainstream radar. Leave it to GM Ryan Pace to do two of those things with one pick:
The Bears used the sixth-round pick (No. 205 overall) acquired from the New England Patriots in the trade that allowed the team to select Kansas State cornerback Duke Shelley.
How off-the-board was Shelley? BearReport.com tweets Shelley says he took an official top-30 visit with the Bears during the pre-draft process. Most of the Bears’ official visits had leaked one way or another, but Shelley and the team were able to keep it under wraps. And good thing they did, because otherwise this potential under-the-radar diamond-in-the-rough type might have received some pre-draft hype that could have put him on some other team’s radar.
There are conflicting reports regarding Shelley’s prospect status. Shelley checked in as the 83rd-ranked cornerback prospect by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, according to Kevin Fishbain. HOWEVER, Pro Football Focus ranked Shelley as the site’s sixth highest-graded cornerback last season. No, seriously:
And based on what I’m seeing in this highlight package, I can see why he earned high marks from PFF:
I guess it’s not officially a draft until Pace picks an obscure prospect who grades highly at Pro Football Focus. Only two picks left, so let’s gear up for those final selections.