The Chicago Bears have promise at the cornerback position, and the changes on their defensive line should help them return to form.
The Chicago Bears experienced a major setback on their defense, and their cornerbacks felt the same effect. Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, who have been one of the better starting corner duos in the NFL, had forgettable seasons.
This was largely due to a nonexistent pass rush though, but their jobs will be made easier with the additions of defensive ends Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston.
Tillman missed seven games and played through injury, but he still managed three interceptions, and the Bears showed their faith in the Pro Bowler by signing him to a one-year deal.
Jennings also managed four interceptions despite the pass defense allowing 6.9 yards per pass, and he still has plenty of years left on his contract. The two-time Pro Bowler notched nine interceptions in 2012, so he will look to regain that form.
Tillman and Jennings are both in their 30s, so general manager Phil Emery planned for the future by selecting Kyle Fuller with the 14th overall pick in the draft. Fuller excelled in run support at Virginia Tech and can provide solid coverage as well. Learning from Tillman and Jennings will benefit him in the long run.
The former Hokie is expected to start in 2015, assuming Tillman leaves in free agency once his contract expires. He should see plenty of snaps in the nickel position.
The Bears had decent depth before Fuller was drafted, but now the position figures to be deep. Isaiah Frey and Kelvin Hayden will stick around as key reserves. Hayden missed time with a hamstring injury, so Frey was able to gain experience off the bench.
Hayden is no longer a starting-caliber corner as he was with the Colts, but he still has some juice left in him.
It’s unlikely that the Bears will carry more than six cornerbacks on the roster. Sherrick McManis is a special teams ace, so he stick around as a reserve. He recorded 15 special teams tackles in 2013, which ranked second on the team.