Bryce Callahan Days Until Chicago Bears Regular Season Opener


We’re under 40 days until the Chicago Bears kickoff the 2015 regular season against the Green Bay Packers, and the Bears have finally started training camp. Opening day is still more than a month away, but the pads have started colliding and it won’t be long until the Bears are on the field for the first preseason game against Miami. In the meantime, let’s continue looking at the players comprising the Bears roster with number 37, Bryce Callahan.

Somewhat lost amidst all the bodies the Chicago Bears have collected at cornerback is undrafted rookie Bryce Callahan, who comes to the Bears after four years at Rice University.

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Callahan played well in four seasons at Rice, collecting six interceptions as a freshman in 2011, two each in 2012 and 2014 and three in 2013. He also returned punts for the Owls, particularly in his final two seasons in college.

Coming out of college, Callahan was projected to be a late-round draft pick, but was never selected. He doesn’t have great size (5’10”, 185 pounds), but has solid coverage skills and is aggressive around the ball, which should translate to the NFL.

Unfortunately for him, the rest of his game isn’t very good, according to

“Wants to jam at line of scrimmage but can be knocked off-balance too easily. Too easily displaced at top of the route by physical receivers. Appears to lack some desire when supporting the run … is lacking the play strength to handle NFL receivers on the outside and can be mismatched from the slot against physical receivers.”

Clips of Callahan are limited online, but I don’t see the hesitancy in attacking in the run game that the scouting report above describes. Callahan tackles well and looks aggressive in going after the ball carrier.

Another concern about Callahan is the level of competition he played in college; while he did play against some major schools (Texas A&M in 2013 & 2014, Notre Dame in 2014, UCLA in 2012 and Texas and Baylor in 2011), most of the time he was playing mid-majors from Conference USA like Texas-El Paso, Tulsa and Tulane. That’s not exactly primetime college football against top notch-competition, so Callahan is going to have to prove that he can consistently handle covering better, bigger players.

Sep 28, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Rice Owls cornerback Bryce Callahan (29) stiff-arms Florida Atlantic Owls safety Andrew Bolognese (49) while returning a punt during the first half at Rice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

What to expect from Bryce Callahan in 2015

Callahan is a long-shot to make the Chicago Bears roster, but I think he can stick if he outperforms some of the other cornerbacks on special teams, where Callahan has experience on the collegiate level.

Callahan has two main problems when it comes to his position on the Bears: he doesn’t have the ideal size to play in new Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio’s scheme; and he’s got a ton of competition both on the outside and inside at slot corner, where he fits best.

Oct 25, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Rice Owls cornerback Bryce Callahan (29) blocks a pass intended for North Texas Mean Green wide receiver Carlos Harris (9) during the fourth quarter at Rice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears are carrying 11 cornerbacks right now, and three or four outside of Callahan (Tim Jennings, Tracy Porter, Demontre Hurst) project as likely slot cornerbacks. Jennings in particular figures to get the most snaps inside, particularly if Alan Ball, who at 6’2” has the prized size for Fangio’s scheme, is healthy and can step in for Jennings on the outside.

Even if Jennings plays on the outside, though, Porter has experience and Hurst and Al Louis-Jean both showed (admittedly limited) flashes of competence last season.

Stuck behind Kyle Fuller, Jennings, Ball, Louis-Jean and Hurst and Porter, Callahan doesn’t figure to see much time on defense. However, special teams could be where he makes his mark. The problem there is the Bears already have a cornerback who excels on special teams (Sherrick McManis), so it may come down to how many cornerbacks the team wants to keep on the roster.

Best case scenario for Callahan, he makes the roster and sees heavy playing time on special teams and slips in occasionally on defense. More likely, though, is he spends most of the season on the scout team after he’s unable to breakthrough the logjam of mediocre cornerbacks on the Bears 2015 roster.

Next: Chicago Bears: Why 3-13 prediction is dead wrong

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