What are realistic expectations for the seventh round rookie Stephen Denmark?
Stephen Denmark is one of the most intriguing but also unknown players that the Chicago Bears drafted. He comes into the NFL with a rare combination of height, weight, length, and speed. Denmark is a former wide receiver who great ball skills, which means he has everything you could possibly want in a cornerback if he puts it together.
That is a huge if, though.
Denmark also played at Valdosta State for a reason. He was a lower end wide receiver, who switched positions. and is not only raw but overly unchallenged at the cornerback position.
So, with the upside there and the downside to match, there are plenty of ways that this experiment can go. How should the Chicago Bears play this?
In most cases, Denmark will end up on the practice squad. for a season. Yes, the Bears showed serious interest in Denmark by drafting him. However, they drafted him in the seventh round, and by drafting him, they have the easiest path to push him to the practice squad.
Yes, other teams can claim Denmark if he is released. However, if a team claims him they have to keep him on their active roster for three weeks. All 32 teams may love to have Denmark on their practice squad. However, the Bears may have a hard time justifying keeping him active with how raw he is, and the other 31 teams will have the same issue. Denmark could be an injury away from playing in the first couple of weeks of your season if you claim him.
This is not a Tanner Gentry situation, and it will actually be a “hold your breath” decision. However, it is tough to justify keeping Denmark over names such as Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Buster Skrine, Duke Shelley, and Kevin Toliver. A year on the practice squad would do Denmark well and enough other teams will agree that he will go through with that year in Chicago.