It’s time for the next step of the Chicago Bears’ offseason of talent acquisition: The 2020 NFL Draft. We’re going to look at some of the best prospects at various positions of interest leading up to the draft in search of fits for the Bears’ needs.
Today’s position: Cornerbacks
Currently on the Roster (2019 Pro Football Focus Grade):
- Kyle Fuller (62.5)
- Buster Skrine (59.8)
- Duke Shelley (64.0)
- Artie Burns (61.1)
- Kevin Toliver II (51.4)
- Xavier Crawford (48.3)
- Tre Roberson
- Stephen Denmark
- Michael Joseph
BN’s Composite Ranking
Ranking prospects is difficult, in part, because no one publication has the same set of fundamentals or preferences. In an attempt to work through that noise, we’re using a composite ranking based on opinions from PFF, ESPN, CBS Sports, and Walter Football and adapting them to a points scale. The best of the top-10 prospects gets 10 points, the 10th ranked prospect gets 1, and prospects outside the top-10 get 0. From there, the prospects are ranked by total points.
Here’s how the cornerbacks stack up (points in parenthesis):
- Jeff Okudah, Ohio State (40)
- C.J. Henderson, Florida (35)
- Trevon Diggs, Alabama (27)
- Kristian Fulton, LSU (24)
- A.J. Terrell, Clemson (19)
- Jaylon Johnson, Utah (18)
- Jeff Gladney, TCU (15)
- Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State (11)
- Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn (tied) (9)
- Damon Arnette, Ohio State (tied) (9)
Best of the rest: Bryce Hall (Virginia), A.J. Green (Oklahoma State), Lamar Jackson (Nebraska), Michael Ojemudia (Iowa), Troy Pride Jr. (Notre Dame), Amik Robertson (Louisiana Tech)
Even when the Bears had Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, and Bryce Callahan at the peak of their powers, I was known to make it a point that there is no such thing as having too much depth at the cornerback position. And while the Bears have depth behind Fuller and Buster Skrine going into the 2020 season, what the team doesn’t have is a sure-fire starter across from Fuller.
All that needs to be said is that in a division that features Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins slinging the pigskin across the field, a third high-caliber cornerback is more of a need than a luxury.
Most Likely to be Available When the Bears Are on the Clock:
Any number of cornerbacks could be on the board when the Bears go on the clock in the second round. Trevon Diggs (Alabama), Jeff Gladney (TCU), Noah Igbinoghene (Auburn), Jaylon Johnson (Utah), and Damon Arnette (Ohio State) are among the second-round corners who have been mocked to the Bears throughout the pre-draft process.
Much like the receiver position, there is no shortage of cornerback talent that could be available in Round 2.
The Bears Have Reportedly Met With…
- Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State (Video Meeting)
- Kristian Fulton, LSU (Video Meeting)
- A.J. Green, Oklahoma State (Senior Bowl)
- Lamar Jackson, Nebraska (Pro Day)
- Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame (Senior Bowl)
If I Had to Pick One:
There is something about Trevon Diggs’ complete package that is alluring to me.
As a high schooler, Diggs was a two-way star who was a standout performer on offense and defense. Diggs even showed up to Alabama as a receiver before Nick Saban converted him into a full-time defender in 2017. Even then, Diggs chipped in as a return specialist from time-to-time. Hard not to love that versatility.
During his senior season with the Crimson Tide, Diggs earned All-American recognition from Pro Football Focus (first-team), The Sporting News (second-team), and the Associated Press (third-team). Diggs also picked up first-team All-SEC honors for good measure. Oh, and his oldest brother — Stefon Diggs — was a star receiver for the Minnesota Vikings (before being traded to Buffalo this offseason). So you know the blood lines are strong.
As we have learned from watching Eddie Jackson, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and others, it’s hard to bet against Alabama defensive players when they take their talents to the NFL. And when they develop in the secondary, odds are they are going to impress at the pro level, too. And yet, Diggs could still fall to the second round. If he does, and the Bears are in a position to get him, they would be wise to follow history’s trends and take the best SEC defender available (bonus points if they played their ball at Alabama).