The Bears could have gone in any number of directions with their final pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Tight ends, safeties, kickers, edge rushers, inside linebackers, and others were available for the taking. Instead, Chicago double-dipped at cornerback and selected Stephen Denmark, an obscure prospect from a small school with big-time speed and a huge frame. Let’s check him out!
THE PICK (ROUND 7, PICK 238)
- Name: Stephen Denmark
- College: Valdosta State
- Position: Cornerback
- Height, weight, arms: 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, 33-3/8
NEED TO KNOW
- 2018 stats: 14 games, 3 interceptions, 9 pass breakups, 55 tackles, 8.5 tackles-for-loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 QB hit
- Fun fact: Caught 29 passes for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2015 and 2016 before making a full-time transition to cornerback.
PRO DAY RESULTS
- 40-yard dash: 4.46 seconds
- Vertical: 43-1/2 inches
- Looks the part. Listed at 6-3 and 212 pounds on Valdosta State’s web page, Denmark certainly has the frame of a professional cornerback. I mean, come on, he’s 6-3!!!
- Tip-top speed. Not only does Denmark have a large frame, he moves exceptionally well. Denmark reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at his pro day. To be that big and move that well is the kind of combination pro scouts dream of when they are searching for secondary prospects.
- Experience on offense. I’m not saying Matt Nagy is going to throw Denmark into the offense right away, but we know how much he enjoys pulling defensive players out of the meeting room to get them involved on the other side of the ball. If that day comes, Denmark has a background as a wide receiver. And if Nagy doesn’t, then at least Denmark has an idea of how receivers could attack him and the defense having been one in the past.
- Small school background. This isn’t a knock on Denmark as a player, but there will always be concerns about any prospect who plays their college ball at a place that isn’t a Division I power conference school. It comes with the territory of being a Division II prospect.
- Limited exposure. Not only did Denmark play at a small school, he wasn’t a full-time cornerback during his collegiate journey. In that regard, he is a bit more raw than other prospects at his position.
- Plenty of growing left to do. Denmark looks the part, to be sure. HOWEVER, because Denmark wasn’t a full-time cornerback during his college career (or even as a high-school prospect) there are a ton of small things he needs to work on in order to get to a place where he can be a reliable member of the secondary. Luckily for him, Chuck Pagano has long been revered as a top-notch defensive backs coach. Go get ’em, Chuck!
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
#Bears draft one of my favorite late round targets this year: Valdosta State CB Stephen Denmark. Love the raw traits.
Moved from WR in 2018. 6-2 1/2" 220 pounds with 33 3/8" arms. 4.46 speed and 1.48 10-yard split. Had 12 passes defended, 3 INTs in 2018.
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) April 27, 2019
New Bears CB Stephen Denmark, 24th-ranked corner per @dpbrugler: “Denmark lacks ideal cornerback experience and is still developing his feel for coverage, but he is too talented to stash on the practice squad, projecting as a developmental prospect for a team that covets length."
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) April 27, 2019