Peter King has Bears rookie Tyrique Stevenson in mix for postseason award originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
One Bears rookie is starting to garner some serious national attention before the season has even begun. NBC Sports NFL columnist Peter King had Bears cornerback Tyrique Stevenson ranked second to win this year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award, behind Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter.
Stevenson is in line to start at outside corner, opposite Jaylon Johnson this year, after putting together a very impressive training camp. Stevenson has displayed great instincts to break on plays, athleticism to create takeaways and physicality when attacking the ball carrier.
“He’s a really good competitor, which I love,” said head coach Matt Eberflus last month. “We knew he was going to be a good tackler and a physical corner because you could see that on tape in the evaluation.”
The one thing that could hold Stevenson back from winning a major award like this is that cornerback is a notoriously hard position to play as a rookie. Considering Johnson is well known as a shutdown corner, it’s likely that Stevenson will be challenged early and often in pass defense. We’ve seen Stevenson go through ups and downs during preseason games, from missed assignments to silly penalties, and some of those struggles may continue into the regular season. The Bears will ride those waves, and Stevenson has already shown the ability to bounce back from bad snaps to make great plays.
“What you like about him is the short memory,” said GM Ryan Poles. “Alright, that one is gone. Onto the next one.”
Pass rushers are typically the favorites to win defensive awards, but it’s certainly not impossible for a cornerback to take home some hardware– in fact, Sauce Gardner did it for the Jets last season. If Stevenson can convert on his opportunities to intercept passes, he’ll find himself in the mix at the end of the year.
The Bears open up the regular season against the Packers this Sunday.