Getting to Know the 2019 Chicago Bears: Cornerbacks

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Getting to Know the 2019 Chicago Bears: Cornerbacks

Chicago Bears

The 2019 Chicago Bears’ training camp is under way and the team’s August 8 debut at home against the Panthers around the corner, let’s take an early look at who’s on the team right now.

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Today: Cornerbacks

The Starters: Kyle Fuller (7 interceptions, 21 passes defended, 55 tackles; 81.4 PFF grade), Prince Amukamara (3 interceptions, 12 passes defended, 66 tackles; 81.0 PFF grade)

Possible Position Battle Alert: Buster Skrine (0 interceptions, 8 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 0.5 sacks, 58 tackles; 57.3 PFF grade) vs. Duke Shelley (rookie)

The Backups: Stephen Denmark, Clifton Duck, John Franklin III, Doyin Jibowu, Michael Joseph, Sherrick McManis, Jonathon Mincy, Kevin Toliver II

Potential Training Camp Star: Kyle Fuller established himself as a star cornerback by earning first-team All Pro honors and an invitation to the Pro Bowl. With that being said, I almost feel guilty about putting Fuller in this category. But because Mitch Trubisky is going to be working toward making more significant strides in his second year in Matt Nagy’s offense, it means Fuller will likely be targeted often. As Javon Wims tweeted, “iron sharpens iron” — and Fuller’s defense could make Trubisky that much better in 2019 or he could come up with some fun interceptions of his Pro Bowl teammate. Heck, maybe both!

We Really Like: Duke Shelley plays a brand of football that should fit in with what the Bears are all about. Shelley plays a physical style of corner and positions himself to play the ball in the air. He didn’t come away with as many interceptions as one might like, but his ability to breakup passes has already stood out in camp.

We Might Be Worried About: Buster Skrine is a durable and dependable defensive back, but Pro Football Focus’ metrics do not have much love for Bryce Callahan’s replacement. Skrine had the seventh-worst coverage grade among corners last year and has allowed 39 touchdowns over the last seven years. Being reliable is fine and dandy, but giving up nearly five touchdowns in coverage per year isn’t a great look. Big plays and penalties could muck up what is otherwise a great defense. Just thinking about it makes me itchy.

2019 Forecast: Bears cornerbacks combined to haul in 13 interceptions last year. And while that might be brushed off as an unsustainable blip on the radar, I would counter that it was a culmination of years of hard work. I’ll never forget Fuller and Amukamara working hard with the JUGS machine under a hot training camp sun in 2018 before their breakthrough seasons. Hard work pays off. So as long as the Bears’ cornerbacks aren’t resting on their laurels, the standards will continue to be high, and the expectation will be they will be met (or even exceeded).

(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.