30 Most Important Bears of 2022: No. 14 Kyler Gordon

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The Chicago Bears are gearing up for the 2022 NFL season, which features plenty of new and returning faces within the organization. There are a number of players, coaches and front office members that are crucial to the team’s success this season.

Every day from now until the start of training camp, we’re counting down our 30 most important Bears for the 2022 season. We’ll recap their 2021 season, look ahead to 2022 and tackle the biggest question facing them this year.

Next up at No. 14 is rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon, who is expected to make an immediate impact for the Bears.

Background

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Position: Cornerback

Age: 22

Experience: 1st season

2022 cap hit: $1.6 million

2021 recap

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Gordon played in the shadow of Huskies teammate and first-round cornerback Trent McDuffie, but Gordon showed impressive athleticism and production that elevated his draft stock. Gordon showcased his potential to develop into a lockdown corner at the pro level. He didn’t allow a single touchdown — not just in his final season but in 722 coverage snaps during his four years at Washington.

Gordon had a career year in 2021, totaling 36 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and seven pass breakups in 12 games. While Gordon no doubt possessed impressive traits during his college career, he was able to finally put it all together in his final season, which helped his draft stock rise. Like Duffie, Gordon was considered a borderline first-round pick. But he ultimately fell to the Bears in the second round.

2022 outlook

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Gordon is expected to make an immediate impact as a starter on the outside opposite Jaylon Johnson, barring some unforeseen setback. Chicago’s top draft pick missed the final week of organized team activities and mandatory minicamp due to an apparent minor injury that left him riding a stationary bike. But before he was sidelined, Gordon was “lighting it up” during offseason practices, per Matt Eberflus, especially when it came to making plays on the ball.

The Bears had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last season, which was why GM Ryan Poles addressed it with both Gordon and fellow second-round safety Jaquan Brisker. One of the areas the defense needs to improve is forcing turnovers, which is something Gordon’s already shown a knack for. Eberflus praised Gordon’s “impressive ball skills,” which the team is hoping translates immediately to the field.

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Big question: Will Kyler Gordon play outside cornerback for his entire rookie season?

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Gordon is a versatile cornerback with the ability to play outside or in the slot. So where can we expect Gordon to line up during his rookie season? Right now, the plan is for Gordon to play outside, presumably opposite CB1 Jaylon Johnson as a starter. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams noted they wanted Gordon to focus on one thing, which is outside. Ultimately, they’ll see how much he can do and how much they can push him.

But Williams didn’t rule out the possibility of Gordon playing nickel cornerback, which is arguably the most difficult position to play on defense given the multitude of responsibilities. The Bears aren’t looking to put too much on Gordon’s plate — at least from the start — but that could certainly change down the line. But would they consider a move in-season? The Bears will ultimately do what’s best for Gordon, which could include a switch to the slot. But at least for now, there’s a clear plan for Gordon’s rookie season.

30 Most Important Bears of 2022

We’re counting down our 30 Most Important Bears of 2022. Check back every day leading up to the start of training camp.

 

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