Rookie Expectations: Kevin Toliver

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 03: Terrance Toliver
ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 03: Terrance Toliver /

Kevin Toliver could be the UDFA steal of the entire NFL, or his attitude could keep him out of the league entirely. We take a closer look at the UDFA CB.

Most NFL Draft analysts had Kevin Toliver pegged as a fourth round pick. Some had him as high as third. Talking to those who know his game at LSU said that he’s a second round talent. So why in the world were the Chicago Bears able to sign him as a UDFA? Toliver is an interesting prospect for the Bears and could fall into the all-or-nothing category.

Kevin Toliver has had some trouble at LSU. That trouble wasn’t due to not coming up in the running game or failing to cover well in man-to-man schemes. No, Toliver’s trouble came off the field. Toliver has had some legal trouble and has had an attitude to go with it. Toliver has been labeled as not a great teammate and not the hardest worker in the world either. When the Bears brought him in, they told him he would be on a short leash. Will Toliver respond? That’s anyone’s guess at this point.

What should fans expect from Kevin Toliver? We take a closer look.

Best-Case Scenario

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Toliver uses his slide to UDFA status as a wake up call. He realizes the NFL isn’t in his future if he doesn’t clean up his act. Toliver responds quickly and puts his past issues behind him. He also realizes that he can no longer coast on his talent and puts in the necessary work.

With a new attitude, Toliver shows that he is an absolute steal. Toliver looks excellent in the preseason and makes the 53-man roster. He slides in at CB4 behind Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara and Bryce Callahan. The inevitable injury to Prince comes and Toliver gets an opportunity to start. He plays great in that opportunity and even when Prince returns, Toliver battles him for that position. The Bears enter 2019 with a problem. Toliver is worthy of starting but the Bears are on the hook for another season with Prince. Toliver’s talent wins out and he becomes the everyday starter in 2019 and Prince becomes an expensive backup.

Worst-Case Scenario

Toliver gets to camp but his attitude continues to be a problem and he doesn’t work hard. He quickly falls out of favor with Bears coaches and his teammates don’t warm much to him either. Although Toliver’s size and skill have the Bears hopeful, it’s clear that he isn’t willing to put in the work. He’s cut outright and never really sniffs the 53-man roster or even is considered for the practice squad.

Odds Are

Toliver takes the short leash seriously and improves his attitude. While it isn’t perfect, he does make significant strides. The Bears can put up with the occasional dogging it in practice or the occasional outburst, but it’s not a major issue. Toliver shows he does have NFL talent and understands he needs to work to make it in the league. He makes the 53 as a low-end CB or perhaps the Bears roll the dice and release him and hope to stash him on the practice squad. Toliver continues to improve and regardless of the outcome prior to week one, he’s on the 53 by midseason. He continues to improve and shows ability when he gets opportunities to play. The Bears bring him back in 2019 as their top sub CB on the outside behind Fuller and Amukamara.