When Kyler Gordon came out of Washington, NFL.com draft expert Lance Zierlein compared him to Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones. This came from their combination of skill sets and playing styles. If true, then the Chicago Bears have landed themselves a long-term starter. The more interesting idea is what his new coaches see when watching him. Head coach Matt Eberflus and defensive coordinator haven’t offered any comparisons thus far.
The same can’t be said for new secondary coach James Rowe. He ran the cornerbacks room for Eberflus when they were with the Indianapolis Colts. So it would be easy for the young assistant to compare the rookie to Pro Bowler Kenny Moore. While he does see similarities between the two, there is another name Rowe had the chance to coach he gets visions of when watching Gordon. According to Adam Jahns of The Athletic, it is somebody Bears fans probably don’t have fond memories of.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve had one quite like (Gordon),” Rowe said. “Kenny Moore has good short-area quickness. Kyler’s might be a tad better, but Kenny was a longer player. Out of the guys I have coached, no, I wouldn’t say anyone has the short-area quickness that I’m seeing from him right now. Probably DeAngelo Hall, but I coached the older DeAngelo Hall. That’s my buddy, so leave that one out.”
Feel those nightmares coming back?
Bear fans probably don’t love hearing the name DeAngelo Hall because of what happened in 2010. Nobody will ever forget the day he intercepted Jay Cutler four times in the same game. He single-handedly won that game for the Washington Redskins and was one of the low points for Cutler that season. People would’ve laughed in your face if you told them the quarterback would lead the Bears to the NFC championship.
Putting that aside, there is no denying Hall was an excellent player. He survived 15 seasons in the NFL, making three Pro Bowls and collecting 43 interceptions in his career. He probably should’ve gone to at least two more. He had the misfortune of playing on some atrocious teams, making it difficult for voters to recognize how good he was. If Gordon has a similar career trajectory, the Bears just hit a grand slam.
Kyler Gordon couldn’t be in better hands.
Rowe is widely considered one of the rising stars in the defensive coaching community. He was the one who helped get Moore to the NFL out of Valdosta State as an undrafted free agent and then turned him into a Pro Bowler. Now he’s running a secondary stacked with young talent, including Gordon, fellow rookie Jaquan Brisker, and Jaylon Johnson. That isn’t counting former All-Pro Eddie Jackson. It is easily the most talented secondary he’s ever coached.
His new coordinator, Williams, should also be included. He’s coached defensive backs for 20 years, winning a Super Bowl in 2006 and churning out Pro Bowlers, All-Pros, and even Defensive Players of the Year along the way. If any group of coaches knows what it will take to get the most out of Kyler Gordon as a player, it’s this one.
That might be why GM Ryan Poles had no issues making him the first pick last month.
Early signs are promising. Gordon had two interceptions when Organized Team Activities began this month. His ball skills are already giving quarterbacks problems. His playmaking should only intensify as he gains experience inside this new defense.