The Bears added some depth to the safety position today by signing former Packer M.D. Jennings to a 1-yr deal. Jennings, 25, was an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas St in 2010, but started 26 of the last 28 games for the Packers. He struggled in 2013 with a -5.2 grade for the season which was 62nd out of 86 safeties according to Pro Football Focus. As bad as that sounds, it was still better than the Bears combo of Chris Conte (-15.8, 82nd) and Major Wright (-27.4, 86th/86) in 2013. Jennings did have 74 tackles last year which is decent, but no interceptions or forced fumbles. His inability to produce turnovers and big-plays is the primary reason the Packers cut ties with Jennings as they were the only team in the NFL to not get an interception from either of their starting safeties. Jennings only has 1 INT in his 3 year NFL career, but did have 8 in his college career at Arkansas St and was thought to have good ball skills coming out of college.
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The pre-draft scouting report on Jennings was that he is solid in coverage with good enough speed to be a slot corner (4.5 range) but struggles against the run due to poor tackling angles and being undersized. Jennings should give Conte some solid competition for the starting job in 2014, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears also drafted a safety to compete with Conte / Jennings at the free safety position.