Friday, April 19, 2024

Filling The Void At Safety

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Earlier this week, the Bears announced the release of two veterans. Cody Whitehair and Safety Eddie Jackson. The moves were expected. Whitehair was benched after being ineffective at center. Watching Lucas Patrick get injured had to be hard on the long-time veteran, and the coaching staff passed over Whitehair. Eddie Jackson was never the same player fans loved after foot injuries, and his cap hit would have been a burden as Ryan Poles continues to rebuild the roster.

While Whitehair was relegated to a reserve role, Jackson was still in the starting lineup, and finding his replacement is urgently needed.

According to rumors, the Bears seek to fill needs at center, edge, and wide receiver in free agency. Cap room is tight despite freeing up more than $24 Million with the release of Whitehaie and Jackson. While the raw numbers, according to the website Over The Cap, show Just under $67 Million, a closer look is required.

The team must set aside about $12 Million to cover rookie contracts. Another $8-10 Million will be held in reserve to add players to the roster during the season, replacing injured Bears. That leaves Poles $45 Million. Jaylon Johnson needs to be resigned. Signing Johnson to a three-year extension with voidable years on the back end would create a cap-friendly deal for 2024.

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Ryan Poles will look to the draft to continue building the roster. Expect to see some trades to add draft capital. The ability to land a second-round pick in this draft could go a long way to fill the Safety spot. The top five safeties in this draft are ranked from 33 to 58, so seeing Poles add one or two picks in the second round would help.

All player rankings in this article courtesy of CBS Sports.

Tyler Nubin Rank 33

Nubin was a 5-year starter for Minnesota and a local kid. He grew up in St. Charles, Illinois. Nubin earned first-team All-American and first-team All-Big 10 honors in 2023. His 13 interceptions set a Minnesota record during his career. Nubin could join former teammate Terrel Smith on the Bears roster. His physical style of play should make him effective in the box, stopping the run. And his coverage skills rank him as the top available safety in 2024.

Kamron Kinchens Rank 36

Kinchens is short at only 5′ 11″ especially compared to other safeties in this draft class, but he hasexcellent coverage skills and a knack for making big plays.

Javon Bullard Rank 43

At Georgia, Bullard showed a knack for reading routes as well as anticipating throws. Does extremely well in zone coverage.

Calen Bullock Rank 47

One of the tallest safties on the board standng 6′ 3″ Bullock demonstrated great ball-hawking abilities. Considering how the Bears defense led the league in interceptions in 2023, Bullock would be a great fit in Matt Eberflus’ defense.

Other Available Safties

Demani Richardson, Texas A&M; Tykee Smith, Georgia; Jaden Hicks, Washington St.; Jaylin Simpson, Auburn.

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Slip Knotz
Slip Knotz
Feb 17, 2024 10:35 pm

i can’t imagine that Poles/Eberflus don’t have a plan for free safety.

The EJ cut was a long time coming. They decide to make this cut.

So do they plug the hole with a free agent or have some late round gem? These guys are pretty good at this particular stuff so I”ll wait and see.

Veece
Veece
Feb 17, 2024 2:06 pm

Unfortunately, Nubin will likely be taken in the 1st round. But Bullard and Hicks would be good additions for the Bears. Even Miami safety Williams is a possibility in the 4th round (ironically where Bears selected Eddie Jackson.)

eecummings
eecummings
Feb 17, 2024 1:11 pm

Jones

As I recall, Brisker and Gordon were both perceived as first round picks at the time (actually, I looked and Consensus Mock Drafts and confirmed that – both were floating between the 25 to 30 range).

At the time, I saw that as pure value picks for a team that had a lot of holes. Is there anything else to add about Poles/Eberflus having a higher value on Safety?

I remember Mike Brown being essential in the 2000s but I am not sure that remains the same (and he was a 2nd rounder)

Tred
Tred
Feb 17, 2024 12:34 pm

Jones – I agree with you. Poles and Eberflus value safety a lot more than I do. Especially with all our other holes.

The fact remains that DBs hit more than any other position in the later rounds and undrafted. So, it makes sense to mine those rounds for them when you have so many other needs.

Dr. Melhus
Feb 17, 2024 12:02 pm

Nice article, Michael. I knew about Kinchens and Nubin, but it’s good to see there are other solid options out there. Poles has a track record (short, given his limited time as a GM) of finding good defensive backs in the second round. Sounds like this is a class that will give him another opportunity to show that and bolster the Bears secondary yet again. An argument can be made that a large part of KCs path to a Super Bowl victory this year was aided by a strong secondary, and the ability to reduce the opponent’s effectiveness in the… Read more »

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