Kyler Gordon is going to be a star in the Chicago Bears new defense

Chicago Bears (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

On Friday, the Chicago Bears drafted Washington Huskies’ cornerback Kyler Gordon with the 39th-overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Gordon, standing at 5-foot-11 and 194 pounds, possesses great tools to be an efficient cornerback in the new Bears’ head coach Matt Eberflus’ defense.

Gordon has intangible traits to become an impact player in both the run and pass defense for Chicago. Gordon is strong and twitchy, making him a great run defender with the ability to shed blocks and hit hard for a player his size. He was also a competitive dancer previously, which taught him excellent footwork and gave him lots of flexibility — making him a very nimble athlete on the outside.

Gordon is a very versatile player too. He can play both in press coverage and in off coverage and move from the outside to the nickel position seamlessly. He is a very decisive and explosive player when reacting to receivers’ breaks. It reminds me of how Kyle Fuller would break on receivers’ routes during his time with Chicago, making him a major ball hawk threat. Gordon has a dog mentality and is aggressive, making him a great fit with the pieces the Bears have in place for their defense this upcoming season.

While Gordon is a great prospect, he certainly has aspects of his game he needs to work on. He ran slower than expected at both the combine and Washington’s Pro Day, running a 4.52 40-yard dash. This may be one of the reasons he slid out of Thursday night’s first round.

His instincts are not at an NFL level yet, but playing in a secondary with and learning from Eddie Jackson can immensely help him improve that part of his craft rather quickly. He needs to find a balance between urgency and patience as he tries to make the big play too quickly. However, this will improve as his instincts sharpen through his first season.

Gordon needs to refine technical areas of his game as well, such as relining too much on the latch and ride technique, where he will latch onto a receiver within the first five yards, and ride him downfield, making him susceptible to giving up both big plays downfield and penalties.

Kyler Gordon has many strengths and weaknesses as a prospect, but his biggest strength may be his fit in Matt Eberflus’ system. Eberflus will run a base 4-3 defense, changing from the 3-4 defense we have seen since Vic Fangio was hired in 2015.

Eberflus will run both cover 2 and single high coverages, which will keep the defense guessing on every snap. While at Washington, Gordon played in a 4-3 system as an outside corner with mainly single-high looks. In Eberflus’ time with Indianapolis, his cornerbacks were expected to come off the edge and contribute in the run game — something Gordon can excel in right away with his combination of athleticism and physicality.

Eberflus also ran a lot of press coverage with the Colts with an emphasis on jamming receivers at the line to slow them down — another mainstay in Gordon’s game as an outside corner. Jaylon Johnson and Kyler Gordon will play as the outside cornerbacks in this new system, with new signing Tavon Young sliding right into the nickel position. With both Johnson and Gordon being physical outside corners that wreak havoc on their matchups all game, the Bears’ secondary will play a very physical brand of football in 2022.

The Bears made a fantastic pick with their first selection in the NFL Draft. Kyler Gordon is a first-round talent that the Chicago Bears got seven picks into the second round, providing great value with Ryan Poles’ first draft choice as the Bears’ GM. Gordon is a player with both a high floor and a high ceiling, making him someone who can make impacts early and improve greatly week-to-week.

Draft Grade:

I would give the Bears an A- with their selection of Kyler Gordon.