Chicago Bears: 4 hot takes on Justin Fields, Jaylon Johnson, and more

Chicago Bears - Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Jaylon Johnson
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Hot Take: Jaylon Johnson will be the Bears best cornerback since Charles Tillman

After Jaylon Johnson’s hot start to the 2021 season, Chicago Bears fans are ecstatic about his potential.

Can Jaylon Johnson be the Bears’ best cornerback since Charles Tillman?

It’s hard to be anything less than thrilled with how well Jaylon Johnson has played to start the 2021 season. Through two games Johnson has a league-high five pass breakups, one interception, and an 87.0 PFF grade. There were some questions if Johnson could fill the shoes of long-time Chicago corner Kyle Fuller, but 15 games into Johnson’s career, it looks like he could be better than Fuller ever was.

Jaylon Johnson has always had the talent 

In the 2020 draft, Johnson was described by scouts as a first-round talent with second-round injury concerns. Johnson played in 27 games in his final two seasons of college, but he played through several shoulder injuries, including a torn labrum in 2018.

Johnson’s past injuries and surgeries were enough to have him slide to day two of the draft. Since the Bears didn’t have a first-round pick that year, Pace and company were thrilled to have such a talented player fall into their laps and took Johnson with the 50th pick.

Jaylon Johnson showed flashes as a rookie

Johnson had a solid rookie season playing as the second cornerback on the Bears depth chart. Cornerback is a challenging position to play straight out of college, and Johnson was up to that task, recording 15 pass breakups in 13 games, and was one of the most consistent rookie corners.

The coaching staff consistently praised Johnson for his play throughout the year. The fact the Bears were willing to part ways with Kyle Fuller and give Johnson the role of top corner after only 13 games speaks to the confidence the organization has in Johnson’s development.

Durability is the biggest concern

The only thing that has gotten in the way of Jaylon Johnson’s success has been injuries. Since Johnson missed the final few games of the 2020 season, including the playoffs, due to a shoulder injury, we still aren’t completely past the concerns that caused him to drop in the draft. Still, it’s easier to feel good about a player with an injury history that is undoubtedly talented than one who plays every game but lacks the skill needed to be a high-quality player.

Bottom line:

Small sample size or not, it’s impossible to deny how good Johnson has looked this year. He could become a major part of the defense going forward and has the potential to be one of the best cornerbacks Chicago has had for a while