Deon Bush – Most fourth round picks would have a tough time earning any defensive snaps much less a starting job, but when the Bears decided to not sign a free-agent safety it opened up the starting safety spot next to Adrian Amos. I don’t think Bush has the coverage skills now (or possibly ever) to win the starting job, but he could make some big hits as an in-the-box safety in sub packages.
Bush has the size (6’0, 200) and speed (4.59) to be a starting safety in the NFL and in 2014 looked like a top 100 pick, but took a significant step back last season. If Bush can get back to his 2014 form he could surprise everyone and win the job opposite Amos.
One advantage Bush has over his competition at safety is that he’s a vicious hitter which should make him a fan favorite right away. Personally, I think he will need a year or two of coaching to figure out how to translate his impressive athleticism to playing safety at the NFL level.
– A DII player who played all over the field in college, including a rover position similar to the one I mentioned for Anderson above. Hall had great ball skills in coverage with 13 interceptions over the last two seasons and his ridiculous 35″ arms combined with his 6’2 height should give Hall the the ability to match up with the tallest receivers and tight ends in the NFL.
The jump from DII to the NFL is probably two much for Hall to handle as a rookie, but I think he will be the starting Bears safety across from Amos as early as 2017.
DeAndre Houston-Carson – A sleeper candidate to get significant safety snaps in 2016. 5th rounder Adrian Amos pulled it off last year, starting 16 games, and Houston-Carson has the potential to win the job as a rookie 6th-rounder as well.
DHC was the pick I knew the least about after the draft and I do a significant amount of research. There just aren’t a lot of William & Mary games online.
Though the more tape of DHC I watch, the more I think he has a chance to pull an Amos and earn a starting job at some point during his rookie season. His skill-set is very similar to Amos’ as former corners who moved to safety as seniors and were even more productive.
DHC has the build for a starting safety at 6’1, 205 and more than enough speed (4.54) to hold his own at the NFL level. Like Amos, DHC is a coverage defensive back who likes to hit. Granted it was against sub-NFL talent, but DHC has plenty of monster hits on his college highlight reel.
He’s clearly not opposed to contact and has the range and ball-skills to be the type of dual-role safety DC Vic Fangio desires. DHC might be a 50-1 underdog to win the starting safety job across from Amos, but I’d throw a few dollars down on that bet.