An unknown prospect, the Chicago Bears may have a gem in Duke Shelley
When the Chicago Bears selected Duke Shelley from Kansas State there was a collective “who” that came from the pick. Shelley was not a combine invite, and was not on the radar of anyone, as you could not find a draft profile on him.
However, after taking the time to look into Shelley, it becomes apparent why teams do the work that they do. They have all of their bases covered, and the Chicago Bears may have found a player who slipped between the cracks.
To start, Shelley is not big. He played on the outside at Kansas State, but he is shorter and weighs less than Bryce Callahan did when he was coming out of college. He is going to play in the slot. So, everything about his NFL play is projection.
On top of that, Shelley only started seven games as a Senior, missing his final month of college due to an injury. A player who was already going to fly under the radar was completely unnoticed as other sleeper players finished their senior years strong.
So, Shelley was small, injured, and did not compete in the combine. He was not heard of by many. However, the Bears saw him.
They saw his instincts, as you can see below against Texas Tech. Shelley reads the receiver’s route and knows where the ball is going. From there, he makes up ground, out-muscles the pass catcher and took the pass to the house.
This is an NFL worthy play from Shelley.
Again, Shelley is lined up on the outside. Watch the way he attacks this football and forces an incompletion with a nasty breakup against Mississippi State.
His physicality is going to translate very well to the slot. So is his ability to play off of the ball, read, react and break.
All of a sudden, Shelley is starting to become an interesting asset. Remember, Ryan Pace added Callahan as a UDFA, he drafted Shelley. Pace evaluated plenty of cornerbacks, and we highlighted that a late round corner was likely to come. However, the extensiveness of his search shined when they came away with a gem in Duke Shelley.