The Bears used their sixth-round pick on Kansas State cornerback Duke Shelley on Saturday.
Shelley was a four-year starter for the Wildcats who tore a ligament in his big toe Oct. 13 and required surgery. He didn’t participate in the NFL Scouting Combine, but recovered in time to run the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at K-State’s pro day.
“It was challenging at first — It was my senior year, missing the last five games — but it is what it is,” he said. “You just keep working and getting back on track. I actually had turf toe one season that put me out, but I’m 100 percent healthy, ready to get to work, ready to come in in camp … and earn a job.” At 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, he profiles as a slot cornerback even though he played outside at Kansas State. The Bears signed Buster Skrine to start there this offseason.
“If they need me inside, I’ll go in the slot,” he said. “If they need me outside, I’ll go play on the outside. Whatever the team needs, I’m here to fill that void for them and go out there and make plays and do the best I can. Wherever coach puts me, that’s where I’m going.”
Like the Bears’ previous two draft picks, Shelley attended one of the team’s top-30 visits at Halas Hall.
Shelley, who returned two interceptions for touchdowns in his career, was voted second-team All-Big 12 by coaches last year.
They drafted Georgia receiver Riley Ridley in the fourth round and Iowa State running back David Montgomery in the third. The Bears were without their fifth-round pick after trading it to move up and draft Montgomery.
“I’m definitely a hard worker. I’m going to work harder than anybody around me,” Shelley said. “I take that very seriously. Technique is probably the biggest thing I feel like sets me apart in my game, the technique that I play with. …. Things like that. I’m a competitor. I’m going to compete very play. I don’t like balls getting caught on me, I don’t care if it’s one yard or five. I like competing. Like to compete all the time. And that’s what I’m gonna do. I know I’m going to compete as long as I can, and it’s going to pay off.”