The Chicago Bears announced Saturday the signing of second-round cornerback Kyler Gordon, which brings 11 of the team’s 12 draft picks under contract ahead of the 2022 season.
This offseason has seen the Bears hit the restart button on defense, trading Khalil Mack to the Raiders, releasing defensive lineman Eddie Goldman and allowing DL Akiem Hicks to find a new home with the Buccaneers in free agency.
Gordon figures to be a key part of the infusion of new youth and talent. He was Chicago’s first pick in this year’s draft and has already received positive reviews from the team’s coaching staff.
“Kyler’s been lighting it up the last two days, I’ll just tell you that,” head coach Matt Eberflus said following a practice during the Bears’ offseason program, via the team’s website. “The guy’s got tremendous ball skills. He’s been playing defense the right way and we’re very impressed with him.”
Defensive backs coach James Rowe, who served in the same position for the Indianapolis Colts when Eberflus was the defensive coordinator there, reiterated the impression of Gordon’s premier ball-hawking skills.
“Sometimes guys just have a natural ability with that,” Rowe said. “I thought (Colts cornerback) Kenny Moore was a guy that had a natural ability with that. Gordon has good ball skills, and he finds himself in good position enough to be able to look back and locate the quarterback and locate the ball to be able to put himself in those positions and make those plays.”
The lone unsigned rookie remaining in Chicago’s 2022 draft class is safety Jaquan Brisker. The defender fell to the Bears nine picks after Gordon as the team’s other second-round selection.
Once Brisker signs a deal to round out the Bears’ rookie class, the two young defensive backs can focus on their next task at hand: restoring Chicago’s secondary to prominence.
After logging three straight seasons as a top-ten scoring defense, Chicago fell to 14th in points allowed in 2020 before dropping even farther — to 22nd overall — last season. The precipitous decline coincided with a measly eight interceptions during the entirety of the 2021 campaign.
The Bears’ desire to start dominating that side of the ball again was a major reason for Eberflus’ hiring, and that thinking continued in targeting Gordon with their first pick on the board.