How Bears draft pick Tyrique Stevenson can make Kyler Gordon better CB
How Tyrique Stevenson can make Kyler Gordon a better CB originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
When a player is drafted to any team, the first discussions usually revolve around how that player will help from a production standpoint. This defensive tackle will add a certain amount of sacks per season, or this offensive lineman will fill a vacant spot at left guard. Sometimes a player can be just as impactful because of how he affects his teammates. That should be the case for Bears second-round pick Tyrique Stevenson.
Stevenson comes in with a real chance to win the second outside cornerback job, alongside Jaylon Johnson. He’s big, long and strong, and the Bears love his physical play style. All of that is great, but it comes with the bonus of Kyler Gordon getting to focus solely on playing in the slot.
“I think any time you can add to that unit, corners are hard to find, you know?” Poles said. “And you always want to playー regardless of position you want to put guys in a position where they feel most comfortable and they can play fast. So in this case, I think that helps that.”
RELATED: Grading Bears second-round pick: Tyrique Stevenson
Last season, the Bears asked Gordon to do a whole lot as a rookie. He came into the summer program and started playing both on the outside and the inside nearly immediately. The Bears were confident in his ability to handle the workload, and Gordon did make massive strides at each position as the year went on. But no matter how talented, how smart and how dedicated a player is, learning two positions at the same time as a rookie is a tall task.
Gordon struggled to start the season as he bounced from outside corner to slot corner depending on what package Alan Williams had dialed up. Again, that was pretty understandable given what the Bears were asking him to do. As the season went on however, his numbers improved drastically. Gordon went from allowing 4.9 catches per game from Weeks 1-8 to allowing 4 catches per game from Weeks 9-18, per PFF. His yards allowed per game dropped from 62 to 49.8 and his missed tackle rate went from 17% to 12% over the same time frame. Other than Weeks 17 and 18 when Gordon played more out wide, his workload didn’t change throughout the year. He just got better.
If Gordon made a leap like that during the regular season, imagine what kind of improvements we may see after a full summer program focusing on just one position. It’s fun to think about, but the Bears aren’t ready to update their depth chart just yet.
“This is all on paper,” Poles said. “The guys gotta come in here and compete and earn their jobs, and hopefully it plays out a certain way and it makes us better and more competitive and deeper. So we’ll see how it goes.”
Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.