The Chicago Bears were a bit surprised when they managed to snag Jaylon Johnson with their 50th pick in the 2nd round last year. He was one of the highest-rated cornerbacks on their board and worthy of a 1st round pick. Yet he fell to them and ended up becoming the best performer from their entire draft class. Easily the best rookie cornerback in the 2020 group.

Fans may have to appreciate that pick even more now. The news came out on Monday via CBS reporter J.D. Miles that former Minnesota Vikings 1st round pick Jeff Gladney had ended up in Dallas County Jail. This due to an incident involving an alleged family violence assault. Gladney is accused of hitting a woman with closed fists, choking her, and grabbing her by the hair. All of it starting over some unusual text messages she was receiving.

If convicted, Gladney could face up to 10 years in prison.

What makes this so scary is how easily it could’ve been the Bears dealing with this situation instead of their division rivals. Gladney went 31st overall in the draft to Minnesota last year. The next cornerback taken? Yep, Jaylon Johnson with the 50th pick. Think about that. If the Vikings had taken Johnson instead at #31, there is a distinct possibility the Bears would’ve ended up with Gladney.

This serves as another reminder that the draft is so often determined less by skill and more by luck. The Bears aren’t just at the mercy of their own player evaluations but those of other teams as well. If Minnesota hadn’t preferred Gladney to Johnson, then Chicago would be viewing the 2020 draft class with a little less optimism right about now.

Jaylon Johnson is front and center now

When Chicago drafted him, they probably didn’t anticipate he’d become the heir apparent to Kyle Fuller. At least not this quickly. Yet that is the reality of things. Fuller was released last month due to salary cap problems. He found a new home in Denver. Now the spotlight is on Johnson whom many believe is set to become their #1 cornerback. Or at least that is the hope.

Last season was so promising. Jaylon Johnson finished with 15 passes defended and allowed just 56.4% of passes completed in his direction. However, there were some concerns. He failed to record an interception all year and then missed the final three games with a shoulder injury. A problem that plagued him during his career in college too.

Can his body hold up for a full season?

It’s a fair question that 2021 figures to provide answers for. Johnson is such a promising young talent. Somebody with Pro Bowl capability. His athleticism, size, and self-confidence are the perfect ingredients for a successful NFL cornerback. Yet as Ryan Pace is so fond of saying, “The best ability is availability.” He will have to prove that this coming season. Fuller isn’t around anymore to make things easier for him. Johnson is the man now. Is he ready for that responsibility? He better be.