You are never supposed to grade a draft class until a year or two down the road. So, while we have been tracking the Chicago Bears rookies to see progression, this ten-week mark is also a good time to look back at the second-year players and see how the first Ryan Poles draft class looks after 27 games in the NFL.
Chicago Bears Round 2: Kyler Gordon
Things were looking grim for Kyler Gordon at first. He had an awful rookie season and followed it up by breaking his hand in week one. After 22 weeks of NFL play, we had no idea if Kyler Gordon would even be a good NFL player.
However, his last five weeks have proven a lot. First, he has stayed in the slot primarily. Last year, he played about 65.9% of his snaps in the slot. This year, it is up to 94.8%. Talk about a role change.
Not asking him to do both has made him much better. First, he has improved as a run defender and made more impact tackles near the line. He blitzed on 2.7% of his snaps in 2022, 23 snaps overall. With seven games to go and missing four games, Gordon has 24 pass rush attempts and is blitzing 8.4% of the time.
He is able to play more zone coverage and break quickly on crossing routes in the slot as well. Everything suits him better. It is easy to say that it is a small sample, but Adam Thielen, Keenan Allen, Chris Olave, and Hunter Renfrow all ran plenty of routes against Gordon, and Gordon has been a lot better in coverage.
We need to see a little bit more to wash away all of the bad thoughts of the year prior, but he has written a new story this year.
Kyler Gordon Grade: B+