After losing Bryce Callahan in free agency and with two of their three starting cornerbacks entering their age-30 seasons, we figured the Chicago Bears would be in the market to pick a player who could help in the secondary at some point over the weekend. What we didn’t know is that it would be Kansas State’s Duke Shelley.
THE PICK (ROUND 6, PICK 205)
- Name: YaQuis Bertron “Duke” Shelley
- College: Kansas State
- Position: Cornerback
- Age: 22
- Height, weight, hand size, arms: 5-foot-9, 173 pounds, 8-1/4 inches, 31 inches
NEED TO KNOW
- 2018 stats: 7 games, 3 interceptions, 9 passes defended, 33 tackles, 1 tackle-for-loss
- Career stats: 37 games, 8 interceptions, 2 pick-sixes, 31 passes defended, 7 tackles-for-loss, 1 sack, 165 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
- College accomplishments: First-team All-Big 12 (Pro Football Focus, 2018), Second-team All-Big 12 (Coaches, 2018), Honorable mention All-Big 12 (Coaches, 2017), Third-team All-Big 12 (Phil Steele, 2017), two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (2018 vs. Oklahoma St., 2017 vs. Texas Tech), four-year starter (37 games).
PRO DAY RESULTS
- 40-yard dash: 4.46 seconds
- Bench press: N/A
- Vertical: 34 inches
- Broad jump: N/A
- 3-cone drill: 7.10 seconds
- 20-yard shuttle: 4.23 seconds
- Positional flexibility. Shelley figures to make his hay in the pros as a slot cornerback, but played his career at Kansas State outside. If he can master the techniques of a nickel corner, simply having a player who can play inside and out could be valuable to the Bears’ defense moving forward.
- Top-notch coverage skills. Shelley finished his college career with 8 interceptions and a pair of pick-sixes. Last season, Shelley earned a 90.0 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus. That number was the best in a pass-happy Big 12, which says a lot about Shelley’s coverage skills.
- Unique prospect pedigree. Shelley was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, with Rivals.com ranking him as the 22nd best cornerback of his high school and 22nd best prospect in Georgia. The Peach State has a ton of football talent, so that’s high praise.
- Size. At 5-foot-9 and 173 pounds, Shelley is small for a cornerback. Bigger receivers could give him problems at the next level. Then again, it’s not as if Shelley didn’t hold his own against perceived mismatches while patrolling the Wildcats secondary.
- Injuries. Shelley missed the second half of the 2018 season with a toe injury, which probably dinged his draft stock. It’s possible that Shelley wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis because he missed the final half of his senior season. Those two things might have ultimately kept Shelley’s stock low enough to where he was a value player for the Bears in Round 6.
- Fit. Shelley has no experience as a slot corner, so we don’t know exactly how smoothly the transition will go as he enters the NFL. A player with Shelley’s talent could make it look easy, but he’ll have to prove it.
PFF SCOUTING REPORT
The #Bears add Kansas State cornerback Duke Shelley in the sixth round.
He had the highest coverage grade of any Big 12 cornerback last year pic.twitter.com/gE10j8DEZO
— PFF CHI Bears (@PFF_Bears) April 27, 2019
Shelley was also PFF’s sixth highest-graded cornerback in college football last season. That seems good.