The Self-Proclaimed “Best Cornerback in the Draft” Confirms He Has Met with the Bears
The Chicago Bears have no shortage of needs going into one of the most important off-seasons in franchise history. That should be expected from a team that won just 3 games, ending the year on a 10-game losing streak.
I mean, come on. When your team loses 13 of its last 14 games, the list of needs will be longer than a CVS receipt.
However, one area where the Bears don’t look to have a drastic need is in the secondary. Veteran Eddie Jackson was in the midst of a renaissance season before a season-ending injury. Rising second-year safety Jaquan Brisker was making an impact everywhere on the field as a rookie. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson put together another solid season and has put himself in a position to earn an extension with the team at some point this offseason. And even though Kyler Gordon’s rookie year featured a sluggish start, a strong end to the season has us thinking the arrow is pointing up and that the best is still yet to come.
Nevertheless, Chicago’s front office is leaving no stone left unturned ahead of the NFL Draft. And at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the team met with Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon — who might be the best cornerback in this class.
Just ask him:
To his credit, Witherspoon’s final season with the Fighting Illini helps back up his bold stance:
- Big Ten’s Defensive Back of the Year
- First-team All-Big Ten
- Consensus All-American
Witherspoon was an across-the-board contributor to the stat sheet in college. He finished with five career INTs, three of which came last year. There were also 11.5 tackles-for-loss, including eight in 2021. During the 2020 season, Witherspoon forced a fumble and came away with three fumble recoveries. All in all, that is a profile of a do-it-all corner. In other words, the type of defensive back you’d like roaming in your secondary. And so long as the NFL is a pass-happy league, there is no such thing as having too many cornerbacks.
At this point, you’re probably wondering where Witherspoon fits in the Bears’ potential draft plans. And, frankly, I struggle to see him as an ideal fit for what the Bears do in the draft. Needs in the trenches on the defensive and offensive line should probably take priority. And there is an argument that unearthing a top-tier receiver would also trump a desire to further bolster the secondary. But I can’t front. Witherspoon checks the boxes for me as a potential top pick. A strong collegiate résumé for a player who went up against top-notch competition in a power conference and plays a high-value position (doing so with gusto, to boot!) is something the Bears need. It’s just that their needs elsewhere appear to be more pressing. Even still … the Bears took time out to meet with him. That’s worth something, right?
Maybe it was for background. Perhaps it was for due diligence purposes. Or possibly they see him as a contingency plan depending on how the draft board falls. Whatever the case, I don’t find it inconsequential that this team took the time to meet with Witherspoon. Everything happens for a reason.