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Lofty Expectations for Kyler Gordon

They may or not be realistic considering how rookie cornerbacks usually play in  the NFL but the Bears are pinning a lot of faith in second-round pick Kyler Gordon.

It took Bears coach Matt Eberflus only a few offseason practices to realize how advanced cornerback Kyler Gordon is.

Unfortunately for the Bears, that's all they had was a few practices to see Gordon. He went to the sidelines during OTAs after he had leg cramps the first practice of rookie camp. The Bears wouldn't say what the injury he has is, or whether there is a correlation between the cramps.

"The guy's got tremendous ball skills," coach Matt Eberflus did say. "He's been playing the defense the right way and we're very impressed with him. I'll just tell you that."

Rookie cornerbacks rarely post big interception totals. The Bears were fortunate two years ago to have high pass breakup numbers from Jaylon Johnson in his rookie year.

There is the thought the new Bears defense could produce more takeaways, and it did lead to more when Eberflus used it with the Colts from 2018-21 However, there was no real jump in iterceptions by cornerbacks as a group. Kenny Moore's interception total went up but not other cornerbacks. Safeties and linebackers did make more interceptions, though.

Considering Bears cornerbacks made only one total interception each of the last two seasons and the team set a franchise record low with eight total picks last year, any number of them from Gordon or rookie safety Jaquan Brisker would be a welcome sight.

Gordon feels up to the challenge because he methodically prepares for success.

"So, when I prepare and I feel like I know everything and I prepare for every situation that can come at me," he said. "I am very calm about it."

Coming up through a Washington program acknowledged as a good one for defensive back doesn't hurt his chances for success. There were 10 Washington cornerbacks in the league when the offseason began: Marcus Peters (Ravens), Keith Taylor Jr. (Panthers, Bookie Radley Hiles (Bengals), Trent McDuffie (Chiefs), Myles Bryant (Patriots), Jordan Miller (Saints), Sidney Jones IV (Seahawks), Elijah Molden (Titans) and Byron Murphy (Cardinals) are the others.

"I feel pretty prepared, very prepared coming from Washington just like everything that they taught me in the way that I prepare myself game to game and person to person and just every every category," Gordon said. "So I just know that that transition from my preparation, transition is the same thing I'm going to carry over to the NFL, and then while adding more tools and more stuff that I can learn.

"So I feel pretty good about going in there and shaking things up for sure."

The Bears don't exactly have a history of rookie cornerbacks making big interception totals. The last one they drafted who made an interception as a rookie was Kyle Fuller as a first-round pick in 2014. He made four that year.

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Despite this offseason injury, it seems clear the Bears want to start Gordon. It's just a matter of where.

He played right cornerback, which was Johnson's position. Then Gordon went out with the injury.

There has been plenty of speculation they plan to move Gordon to the slot, although they do have veteran Tavon Young to play there now. It's not an easy switch.

"I mean, you have to cover guys from all different types, all different skill levels and that's a big task and it's a hard position to play," Eberflus said. "So he's got work to do and he's going to do that."

The plans for Gordon will be more apparent come the first practice July 27, but it's safe to say both he and the Bears expect those to be successful at any cornerback position.

Kyler Gordon at a Glance

The Vitals: Rookie, 6-foot, 190 pounnd.

Career: 97 tackles, 75 solo, two interceptions, 12 pass breakups, two forced fumbles, one recovery.

2021: 45 tackles, 36 solo, two interceptions, seven pass breakups, one forced fumble.

The Number: 2. Both of Gordon's career interceptions came in the same game against Chase Garbers of California.

FanNation 2022 Bears Projection: 43 tackles, 31 solo, one interception, eight pass breakups, one forced fumble.

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