Can Jaquan Brisker Stop the Revolving Door of Safeties Playing Next to Eddie Jackson?

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Can Jaquan Brisker Stop the Revolving Door of Safeties Playing Next to Eddie Jackson?

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears entered NFL Draft weekend with six picks and countless needs. And while they didn’t plug every hole, making 11 picks during the draft helped first-year GM Ryan Poles chip away at his roster-building challenge. We’ll meet the Bears’ 11 draft picks, get to know a bit about their past, and where they project to go moving forward.

Previous: CB Kyler Gordon (Round 2, Pick 39).

JAQUAN BRISKER (ROUND 2, PICK 48)

•  Position: Safety
•  College: Penn State
•  Height, weight, hand size, arm length: 6-1, 199 pounds, 9 7/8″ hands, 31 3/4″ arms

NEED TO KNOW

•  2021 stats: 12 games, 2 interceptions, 5 passes defended, 6 tackles-for-loss, 63 total tackles (38 solo)
•  Accomplishments: Second-team All-American (2021), First-team All-Big Ten (2021), Third-team All-Big Ten (2020)
•  Position ranking: 5th (ESPN), 6th (CBS), 4th (WalterFootball.com)
•  The Athletic’s consensus ranking based on 82 big boards: 38th overall, 4th safety

HIGHLIGHTS

RELATIVE ATHLETIC SCORE

Relative Athletic Score grades player measurements on a 0-10 scale and compares them to their contemporaries. It is a unique way to give some of these prospects some more depth and perspective.

THREE STRENGTHS (FROM NFL.COM’s DRAFT PROFILE)

•   “Versatility to play post, box and slot safety roles.” … A common thread regarding current members of the Bears’ secondary is that they’re all flexible enough to play different roles on the defense. Brisker is just the latest addition.

•   “Forceful to square, strike and finish as tackler.” …  Considering the tackling issues Bears safeties had in 2021, reading this about Brisker is refreshing.

•   “Instincts to find takeaway positioning from any coverage location.” … Another defensive back with takeaway skills. It’s almost as if the powers that be in Chicago saw tape from last year and didn’t want history to repeat itself.

THREE WEAKNESSES (FROM NFL.COM’S DRAFT PROFILE)

•   “Drive angles on the throw are a little inconsistent.” … Chicago’s defensive coaches have some work to do with each of their first two picks.

•   “Pursuit angles against speed can improve.” … The NFL is loaded with fast dudes, so I hope Brisker is a quick learner.

•   “Stares down quarterback and loses feel for the route.” … It feels inevitable that Aaron Rodgers will take advantage of this early in Brisker’s career. Here’s hoping he doesn’t do it often.

NFL.COM COMPARISON: Justin Reid

WHERE HE FITS

Projected Week 1 starting safety opposite Eddie Jackson.

The last few years have been rough for Eddie Jackson. He hasn’t come up with an interception since the end of the 2019 season. And in each of the last two years, his play has come under fire from fans and media critics alike. Some of the critiques have been fair. Others … not so much. Ultimately, I can’t shake the feeling that Jackson simply hasn’t been the same since Adrian Amos left for the Packers in free agency. This isn’t to say that Amos was a driving force in Jackson’s excellence in 2017 and 2018. But the Bears defense was built different from the back, and that group was at its best when Jackson was tag teaming with another stellar safety.

Maybe Brisker can be that guy moving forward?

Heck, perhaps Brisker can take the torch from Jackson, run with it, and create his own path.

He certainly has the skillset that suggests he can do it.

Responsibilities in the defensive backfield are changing. As offenses evolve, defenses must do the same in order to counter what their adversaries are doing. Brisker has the potential to be that type of defender in Chicago. Safeties in this defense will traditionally play in a two-deep shell. However, they won’t always be in that particular look. Especially not with how offenses are attacking these days. Instead, the proper deployment of someone with Brisker’s talent figures to feature time spent in the box, covering receivers out of the slot, helping against the run, blitzing, and disguising his intent to fool the quarterback.

The league’s best safeties dabble in a bit of everything these days. I’m looking forward to seeing Brisker showcase his tools in this scheme. And maybe he’ll play well enough to join that conversation.



Author: Luis Medina

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