Friday, April 19, 2024

Chicago Bears Reportedly Showing Tons Of Interest In Ballhawk CB

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If we’ve learned anything about GM Ryan Poles through his first two years on the job with the Chicago Bears, he values certain positions highly in the draft. Probably the most notable is cornerback. In his first two drafts, Poles has selected three players at that position. Kyler Gordon arrived in 2022, followed by Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith in 2023. All three have become solid contributors to the team. Having depth and talent at cornerback is one of the most important goals of modern NFL defense. So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Bears are once again digging into prospects this spring.

It appears one name already has their attention. Reddy Steward played cornerback at Troy over the past five years. He compiled nine interceptions, 32 passes defended, and 130 tackles in that span, becoming one of the more underrated ballhawks in college football. That success earned him an invitation to the Hula Bowl last month, where he earned positive reviews. Justin Melo of The Draft Network asked if any specific teams showed extra interest. He listed two.

You can probably guess one of them.

“I can think of some teams off the top of my head. I know one of those teams was the Chicago Bears, and another was the Denver Broncos. I feel like those two teams stood out to me because they actually made me get on the whiteboard. We wrote down a couple of my plays as I showcased my football IQ.

We went through multiple positions on the whiteboard with the Broncos and Bears. When I met with the Broncos, they were asking me questions about playing the nickel. I didn’t play a lot of nickel this past season, my senior season, but I think they were impressed with my knowledge of the nickel position. I spent more time with the Broncos and Bears than anybody else.”

The Chicago Bears’ interest in Steward isn’t hard to understand.

Head coach Matt Eberflus’ defensive philosophy is built on forcing turnovers. So it makes sense he’d target defensive backs who have a knack for forcing them. Steward has good fluidity and speed to handle coverage. His awareness and instincts make him an ideal fit for a zone system. He also has way more toughness and tenacity as a tackler than people give him credit for. One lingering problem stands out. Steward is only 5’10 and 180 lbs. Not only is he short, but also thin. That will scare some teams away from adding him.

The young cornerback hopes to be only the third player from Troy selected in the draft in the past decade. His Hula Bowl showing was a good first step. Unfortunately, he failed to earn an invite to the scouting combine. It feels like the best he can hope for is being a late-round pick. As of now, the Chicago Bears don’t have selections in the 6th or 7th rounds. That means they likely see Steward as a possible priority undrafted free agent target. If it works out that way, it would be a fun addition to an already deep unit.

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jmscooby
Feb 15, 2024 6:05 pm

I would probably say my biggest knock on Poles so far is his drafting WRs with suspect hands in their scouting reports, and it continuing so far into their careers. Velus and Scott. I am hopeful the shock treatment our offense is undergoing this offseason might help these guys make that leap. Otherwise, Poles is really, really good at drafting defensive backs.

Tred
Tred
Feb 15, 2024 5:07 pm

Draft C, WR, DE, possibly 3 technique if you find a good value. You might also consider a TE and a Safety for depth. Unless you aren’t resigning JJ, you don’t need a CB this year.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tred
jmscooby
Feb 15, 2024 4:22 pm

Per Yardbarker last month, the Bears met with 3 players during Hula Bowl week.
Memphis RB Blake Watson (Hula Bowl Offensive MVP)
Texas Tech CB Rayshad Williams
UTSA WR Joshua Cephus

Bears24
Bears24
Feb 15, 2024 1:07 pm

Doesn’t look like motivation would be an issue. Scouting’s everything.

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