Finding cornerback help has been a bugaboo for the Bears the last few offseasons.
And that search continues as Chicago’s football team prepares for its third practice with pads of the summer. ESPN’s Field Yates reports the Bears “tried out a group of players” on Thursday, but only one stood out enough to get a name-check — cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.
No, Yates didn’t expand with any names beyond Hargreaves. But that has me curious to know who else was checking in at Halas Hall. Then again, unless the collection of other players working out had résumé bullet points that include two first-team All-American nods, recognition as a three-time first-team All-SEC corner, or being a first-round pick in 2016, I can understand why. This highlight reel is juicy (to say the least).
Unfortunately, Hargreaves’ pro highlight has been limited as he hasn’t lived up to the billing that comes with getting chosen as the 11th overall pick. That’s why he is making the rounds on the tryout circuit as he enters his age 27 season. Hargreaves has 69 games (58 starts) of experience with the Bucs (2016-19), Texans (2019-21), and Bengals (2021). And if he makes it onto the Bears, this will mark his third team in two years. That might be a yellow flag for some. I suppose rightfully so. Good cornerbacks don’t bounce around often. But the Bears are in a place where they should be looking in all corners (no pun intended!) for gems. Particularly at a position of need — and especially with Thomas Graham Jr.’s hamstring injury keeping him out of practice.
We’ll see if the Bears bring Hargreaves in for a longer look. Starting tomorrow, the team has just six training camp practices and nine days before its preseason opener against the Chiefs. In other words, they should probably get to working out cornerbacks before the need becomes too problematic.
UPDATE 1 — NFL reporter Aaron Wilson shares the other names of players trying out for the Bears along with Hargreaves:
What a group. Let’s go through them alphabetically:
- Trevon Coley: The 28-year-old defensive lineman has played 44 games in the pros, but none since his 2020 stint with the Cardinals. Coley has a past with Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus that stems from seven games with the Colts in 2019.
- Davontae Harris: An Illinois State product, Harris has bounced around a handful of teams since 2018. Harris has made at least one start in each of the last three years with the Broncos (2019-20), Ravens (2020), and Chargers (2021). He also made stops with the Bengals (2018) and Niners (2021).
- Isaiah Johnson: Has 19 games of experience with the Raiders in Oakland (5 games in 2019) and Vegas (14 games in 2020). The 6-2, 210-pound Johnson was a fourth-round pick (129th overall) by the Raiders in 2019.
- Josh Mauro: A defensive end with the most experience of anyone the Bears brought in, Mauro has 40 starts (80 games) under his belt. Most of those reps came in Arizona (2014-17; 2020-21). But he also had stints with the Giants (2018) and Raiders (2019). That time in Oakland means he crossed paths with Bears DL Coach Travis Smith, who was an assistant with the team at the time.