As apart of an ongoing series, Taking Inventory aims to assess every position set on the Bears, taking a peek at the previous season and provide a sneak peek into projections for the certain group. For day eight, we take a gander at the defensive back crew.
In an invariably shifting league with yearly revolutions and momentous shifts in style with every new draft, one thing remains constant about defenses-the defensive backs make plays. The secondary will always be packed with the purest athletes, outfitted with jaunty first steps and sky-high verticals. A lot can be open for interpretation in coverage when defenses task them with a flexible responsibility of preventing the occasional pass. And for the Bears, exceptional recent drafting have set themselves up with the exact type of playmakers a blooming defense demands.
Still layover from the Phil Emery era, disgruntled cornerback Kyle Fuller decisively recaptured the magic from his rookie season. The PFWA first-team All-Rookie member started off his career historically hot, becoming the first player in over twenty seasons to record three interceptions and two forced fumbles in his first three games. With the mythical Charles Tillman on his last leg with the team, the Bears designed Fuller to take his throne.
Alas, his sophomore year then took a stark nosedive and his development seemed to regress mightily, totaling only two interceptions over the entire season. Going from bad to worse, he subsequently missed his third year with arthroscopic knee surgery. Coaches lost faith in him, fans lost faith in him, and indefinitely down and out, he looked on an unbreakable path for dreaded free agency once his rookie contract expired.
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Then, miraculously, he fit the pieces together correctly. His fifth-year option had been declined and in response, he put together a sixty-eight tackle, two interceptions and a second in the league twenty-two pass deflection campaign while starting all sixteen games. By far his finest year to date and it had struck him a four year, fifty-six million dollar deal with the Packers.
Obviously, as a restricted free agent, the Bears matched it. Now going into a season climbing the upward trend, this season should be a step closer to the league’s elite cornerbacks. Opposite the flourishing Fuller will be a very reliable Prince Amukamara. With forty-five tackles and seven pass deflections in his first season as a Bear, he rightfully signed on for three more years.
Forming half of the remarkably formidable safety duo, now-sophomore Eddie Jackson enjoyed a rookie year seeing him absolutely blow past his fourth round expectations. After a broken leg forced him to sit out a crucial combine and sent him tumbling down draft boards, he fell right into the Bears lap. Impressively as the only player in NFL history with multiple seventy-five-yard defensive touchdowns in the same game, Jackson’s instincts and untapped athleticism could be molded into a top safety one day.
And right under everybody’s noses, Adrian Amos silently had an All-Pro level season, earning him just that alongside Minnesota Viking Harrison Smith. In only ten games started, he recorded sixty tackles, two forced fumbles, an interception, three pass deflections and a touchdown. Still, only twenty-five years of age, finding a way to keep healthy could unlock one of the best safeties in the league.
As a youthful group that prevented a single receiver to cross one hundred yards against them, this season promises to be a massive leap in the right direction for the promising bunch.