A look at the state of the Bears’ cornerbacks as the 2014 NFL Draft fast approaches.
The Good: The Bears re-signed both starting cornerbacks, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, both of whom were Pro Bowlers two season ago. Although rapidly increasing in age and missing significant time last season, Tillman still has the ability to impact games with his physical coverage on some of the game’s biggest receivers as well as his knack for forcing turnovers by punching the ball loose. Jennings, too, has been a turnover machine the past few seasons, recording 13 interceptions, three forced fumbles and scoring three touchdowns. The Bears also made a wise move by bringing back nickelback Kelvin Hayden on a one-year contract. Hayden missed last season after tearing his hamstring, but he’s a solid player when healthy who can fit in at cornerback should Tillman or Jennings miss time. In Hayden’s absence last year, Isaiah Frey saw significant playing time and he should be improved from last year.
The Bad: Age is certainly the top concern with this positional group. Tillman played in just eight games last season and just turned 33. Hayden missed all of last season and will be 31 when this season begins. Jennings, too, will be 31 before this season ends. The Bears did not re-sign Zack Bowman, thus, after the Top 3 on the depth chart, the Bears only have Frey who has seen any serious playing time. Sherrick McManis and C.J. Wilson are likely no better than special teams contributors. The Bears could certainly use help at the position with a young player in the draft, but safety and defensive line remain bigger concerns.