Here are a few sentences I never thought I’d write, or think, in 2015:
- The Bears really struggled covering the slot without Bryce Callahan.
- Tracy Porter is playing like a corner who wants a contract extension.
- The secondary has been the best level of the Bears defense several games this season.
My predictions were (1) the Bears would field the worst secondary in the league and (2) perhaps one of the worst secondaries in the organization’s history. Neither of those predictions were accurate. Neither was even close.
WHO IS BACK
Kyle Fuller and Adrian Amos both had up-and-down 2015s but both will be prominent members of the Bears secondary next season.
Tracy Porter isn’t a top tier corner but his ability to close on the football is somewhat astounding. If Calvin Johnson does actually retire this offseason, does Porter’s value increase?
Antrel Rolle doesn’t actually cost the Bears much in 2016 so it wouldn’t make sense for them to cut bait before Bourbonnais. Even if the Bears target safety in free agency or the draft, Rolle could provide cheap depth off the bench.
Bryce Callahan was arguably the defense’s most pleasant surprise and a player the Bears coaching staff will surely want to continue developing.
WHO IS NOT BACK
Sherrick McManis may have value on specials but he’s not a professional corner.
Stack ’em up. Harold Jones-Quartey had some nice moments. So did Chris Prosinski. But seeing their success coupled with some awful moments leads me to believe Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell can get a lot of juice out of some lemons. Wouldn’t surprise me if these two are in Bourbonnais. Wouldn’t surprise me if they’re not. Wouldn’t care either way.
Demontre Hurst, Sherrod Martin, Alan Ball and Jacoby Glenn were just bodies.
NEEDS (AND HOW TO FILL THEM)
- Avoid the first round. The rules simply don’t permit the existence of a shut down corner anymore and the strike out record in the first round is alarming.
- Avoid the big money. The strength of the Bears coaching staff is at the backend of their defense. If they’re going to spend this offseason, spend on quarterback disrupters up front.
- Attack rounds 4-6. If the Bears can find another secondary starter in these rounds (as they did a year ago) this personnel regime will be off to a flying start.