Being able to find a replacement for Charles Tillman is a high priority. The Bears could opt to select one of the many talented corners in this year’s draft with their first round pick.
When you look at the top two options, the consensus is Oklahoma St.’s Justin Gilbert and Michigan St.’s Darqueze Dennard. While nobody is denying they are the two best, many are debating over which one is actually better.
Gilbert brings all the great measurable to the table. He ran a 4.37 40-time and benched 20 reps at the scouting combine. He’s fast, strong and has outstanding ball skills. Gilbert would fit in well with Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman because at any moment he can take it to the house.
Dennard ran only a 4.51 and benched 15 reps but he’s the best pure man to man corner in the draft. At 5’11”, he’s one inch shorter than Gilbert but plays a lot bigger. He is the quintessential lock down corner.
Two different players who excel at different things but which one fits the Bears? Right now it’s Gilbert. His size and speed would fit well in a division that features receivers like Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson and Corderralle Patterson.
Tillman is still a big question mark to stay healthy and Gilbert would fit in well opposite Jennings. The Bears still play a lot of Cover 2 and Cover 3 and that’s a system made for Gilbert.
Gilbert also adds a much needed dimension in the return game. He can come in and be the team’s primary return man similar to what Patrick Peterson does down in Arizona.
Now, the rumors of the Bears shifting to a 3-4 defense in the future have run rampant over the last year. A scenario could play out where Tillman retires at the end of the year and the Bears shift their defense. If they do that then Dennard is the right fit.
When you play that 3-4 style, you need strong man corners who can get in the faces of receivers and buy the pass rushers some time to get to the quarterback. Dennard would be able to follow the best receiver on the field and recreate his “no fly zone” like he did back at Michigan St.
Now of course all of this can go off the table if both players are drafted before the Bears even select. If that’s the case then we need to start paying more attention to Bradley Roby out of Ohio St.
Curious as to where these guys rank among the top corners in this draft? Want to know who the next group of guys are after Gilbert, Dennard and Roby? Check out the rankings from our friends on the national side here.