Chicago Bears: Deep dive into the hype of the 2021 NFL Draft (part 2)
The Chicago Bears finally select defense
It was a long wait to see the Chicago Bears draft a defensive player. They attacked two positions of need. I could have said that over multiple positions minus edge rusher. Cornerback Thomas Graham Jr has been talked about like he is going to play the slot cornerback position. Maybe that is because he is compared to Malcolm Butler, and he’s 5’10”.
It could also be because the Chicago Bears signed Desmond Trufant to replace Kyle Fuller, and returning players Artie Burns, Michael Joesph, and Tre Roberson are all outside cornerbacks. Either way, I had never watched tape of Thomas Graham Jr until after he was drafted. And all I can tell you is, how did he fall to the sixth round?
If I were to grade Graham now, I would have a day two grade on him. He looks productive, rangy, and instinctive. I wouldn’t ask him to press anybody, but a guy who could lock down his side of the field in zone seems to be his calling. He reminds me of Marcus Peters. Graham Jr is very aggressive and plays a high-risk, high reward style of cornerback. That is something we haven’t seen in Chicago.
He will jump a route and get an interception, and times where he will guess and be wrong. If anything, I would put him at safety over slot corner just to use his instincts to his advantage. I am still digging into more of his tape, but he racks up tackles at a high rate. Graham had 183 total tackles in his three seasons in Oregon. Most cornerbacks average the same amount of total tackles Graham had solo a season.
With the decent depth the Chicago Bears have at the outside corner, Vildor and Shelley on the inside, I would have Thomas Jr roam the back end of the defensive and learn behind Tashaon Gipson. Having three ball-hawking safeties would not be a bad thing. The Chicago Bear have done their homework on Graham enough as they seem to continue to check out players from Orgeon since Marcus Mariota.
Only time will tell where the Chicago Bears deploy Graham, but someone will be pulling their hair out when he is on the field. Let us hope it is the opposing offensive coordinators. That leaves us with one more draft pick to talk about today. That draft pick is a seventh-round draft selection, but I don’t think he might not be on the active roster right away.