The Chicago Bears knew what they wanted when the 2nd round unfolded back in April. GM Ryan Poles made it clear that Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon and Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker were his top two targets even before he went on the clock for the first time. It was a celebratory moment when he ended up getting both. The two rookies haven’t disappointed thus far. Each has stood out in early off-season practices. Yet it’s Brisker that has turned the most heads.
Coaches felt he’d be a contributor quickly, but they didn’t expect him to adapt this fast. He might be the best safety on the roster and hasn’t played a down yet. That is how good he’s looked in practice. One person who isn’t surprised is Terry Smith, the cornerbacks coach at Penn State. He was the head coach at Gateway High School when Brisker attended. Nobody has watched the young safety grow more than him. He believes Bears fans will see lots of familiarity with the rookie’s style of play.
“(The Bears) are getting a smart guy that’s gonna pick up the system fast,” Smith said. “You’re getting an athletic guy who can run. He’s got good size. He can cover. … And he can fit down in the box and play the run physical. Matchups on tight ends should be very easy for him. He should be able to cover those slots. He should be able to play anything on the back end.
“I would be excited as a Bears fan. Years ago, you got one of our guys, Adrian Amos. He’s along those lines with a guy who’s one of the best safeties in the game.”
If Jaquan Brisker is another Amos, the Bears are in great shape.
The former 5th round pick was one of Ryan Pace’s best selections during his tenure as GM. He was a lynchpin for the secondary from 2015 through 2018 when the Bears had one of the best defenses in the NFL. Sadly the team was forced to let him walk in free agency while paying Eddie Jackson a massive contract following his All-Pro year. Amos signed with the Green Bay Packers and somehow became even better. While not a pure ballhawk, he is easily one of the most well-rounded safeties in the NFL and a constant pain every time the Bears and Packers meet.
Presuming Smith is correct and Jaquan Brisker is the latest version of him, the Bears defense is in great shape. They already have two young studs in their core with Roquan Smith and Jaylon Johnson. Brisker has all the tools to be another. If anything, one could argue his ceiling is even higher than Amos’. He’s faster, more athletic, and has better ball skills. It is exciting to see what he can do once the pads go on next month.