Mystery Over Stephen Denmark's Position Ends
The great Bears mystery of the secondary has been solved.
At least it seems this way.
During a Zoom conference with media, secondary coach Deshea Townsend revealed where Stephen Denmark actually plays.
This might seem like a matter of looking at a roster but the Bears' website is no help because it lists positions in the secondary as DB, for everyone from safety to slot cornerback to cornerback. There is no official depth chart posted until after training camp has been rolling.
If Denmark could be seen practicing during the regular season it would be obvious, but the team's seventh-round draft pick last year was on the practice squad and media isn't allowed to see anything beyond some running and stretching and a couple of thrown passes during the regular season.
Finally, clarity when Townsend was discussing how the cornerbacks and Kyle Fuller all will be competing.
"You know, Kyle's job is to hold off Denmark," Townsend said. "It's Denmark's job to take Kyle's job. So we should have a whole room of competitors who think they're starters. That's what I believe in, that's what I was taught—if you're a starter, you better hold guys off. If you're not a starter, your role is to be a starter, and that's the competition we want in the room."
So Denmark will be behind Kyle Fuller at left cornerback.
It might seem a simple assumption, but after the Bears drafted Denmark a vague reference was made to his height and even being a possible safety with great height like Merton Hanks was for San Francisco.
Denmark has always been a cornerback, at least since his senior year at Valdosta State.
It's before that when the 6-foot-2, 217-pounder was playing wide receiver. Then he converted and came to the Bears' attention.
Denmark's big attraction is a collection of times, heights and distances. Besides his height and weight, he ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at a pro day, had an incredible 43 1/2-inch vertical leap and ran a three-cone drill in less than seven seconds.
He's an athlete who quite literally didn't have a chance to show anything on the field in his first season and now will look forward to competing when camp begins.
Denmark did not play a minute in preseason due to an ankle injury and then was cut before being added to the practice squad.
At the time of Denmark's selection, GM Ryan Pace said: "His ability to stay calm on a deep ball and get his head around with poise and track the ball is very intriguing."
So Denmark will be trying to become a cornerback with great size and leaping ability and it makes sense.
No one ever said he could tackle well and he'd need this to be a safety, especially if called on in run support.
The competition for Denmark is more from behind in the form of Michael Joseph, and beside him.
Some of those competing at right cornerback could probably flip sides and keep him off the regular roster again. Artie Burns and Kevin Toliver II, in particular, have the experience for this type of maneuver.
Nevertheless, it's on Denmark now to show he can win at the spot he's placed—now that everyone knows where this is.
Stephen Denmark at a Glance
Valdosta State CB
Key Numbers: Denmark had 30 receptions and three touchdowns in his first three years as a wide receiver, then made three interceptions and a forced fumble in his one year at Valdosta State as a cornerback.
2020 Projection: Practice squad.