Is there a group of positions with the Bears that you’re already excited about?
Without hesitation I would say, “the secondary”.
Think about it.
Eddie Jackson already has two Pro Bowls and a first-team All-Pro on his resume in five seasons.
All-Pro wide receiver and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp called Jaylon Johnson one of the two best cornerbacks he faced last year.
Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker are just rookies, high second-round picks right now, but one NFL scout says of Gordon: “He’s a ridiculous tester and athlete who should have gone in the first round and he comes with an elite, high engine performance.”
Applause for Brisker from an NFL.com scout read: “Athletic safety whose versatility and toughness will endear him to coaches. He’s an up-and-coming talent.”
The Bears have one of the best nickels in the league, if he can stay healthy, in Tavon Young. Thomas Graham has that wow factor about him and he can be a diamond in the rough. And he is too early to give up Kindle Vildor.
While this recipe has been brewing all spring and summer, it came to the fore on Day 3 of training camp when two rookies, Gordon and Brisker, got their first training camp picks from Justin Fields.
Jackson has quickly gone from young phenom to veteran leader of this group. When did that reality hit you?
“Oh man, when they really got rid of everyone, that was the big turning point, they got rid of everyone,” Jackson said. “…But now, it’s like, you turn around and look, ‘Oh, now I’m one of those guys in the room.'”
Ask Jackson about Gordon and his eyes will light up.
“He’s just a weird athlete,” Jackson said. “If you watch him, like, some of the plays that he makes, it’s not even his man. He’s coming off his man, making plays with the ball. I just see how instinctive he is.”
“He’s smart. He’s willing to learn, he talks less, he takes it all in. When you have a guy like that, you know he’s going to be special.”
That’s pretty much the same way Kupp feels about Johnson.
Ask Johnson how he feels about the new defense he’s learning and he’ll tell you, “I feel confident in any coverage we run, any progression, any way they make us run it.
“Throughout the offseason, I’d say I’ve gotten comfortable with the expectations and how (defensive coordinator Alan Williams) is going to call the defense more.”
Johnson is also quite a fan of Gordon.
“I would just say his ability to catch the ball, his ability to find the ball, track the ball, and he’s an athlete,” Johnson said. “He’s definitely going to be able to make some plays just because of his athleticism, his physicality, his ability to find the ball.”
Gordon has been splitting his time in camp at the borderline and nickel, a spot he’s apparently accepting.
“When they told me, honestly, I had the biggest smile on my face because I love nickel and I love what I get to do there, so it’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
And no one is having more fun than Brisker.
“I love football. I love being here. I love Chicago. I love my teammates. I love my coaches. So I’m definitely happy to be here,” Brisker said.
He also seems to love the Jackson house, where he has been going to private lessons and film studios with the “old man”.
“Yeah, I’m not going to lie, when I first walked in there, I was like, ‘Wow,'” Brisker said. “I had to tell him, coming from where I come from, we don’t see things like that. So that was very important to me.”
“I know I’m in the NFL and things like that, but I also know where I come from and we don’t see things like that.”
There is still much to learn and much to grow, but you can see a bond with these children that is already growing.
Talent oozes from them, and while there are works all around them, this is the group that has a chance to be special.