Operating from a position of strength like never before, Bears general manager Ryan Pace was able to take some chances in this draft. He found a particularly intriguing prospect in the seventh round (238th overall) in Valdosta State 6-3, 220-pound cornerback Stephen Denmark, a converted wide receiver who showed NFL potential in just one year at cornerback in college.
“His ability to stay calm on a deep ball and get his head around with poise and track the ball is very intriguing,” Pace said. “[That] late in the draft, it’s just a very interesting, intriguing prospect. I can tell you this: When we go to the rookie minicamp, he’s going to be one of the guys I’m going to be most interested in watching, just because of the traits he possesses.”
Denmark had 55 tackles, three interceptions and nine pass break-ups in his first year at cornerback for Valdosta State last season.
Pace also took a shot at a big payoff with FAU running back Kerrith Whyte in the seventh round (222nd overall). Whyte played in the shadows of Devin Singletary. But he ran a 4.38 40 at his pro day.
“I just think his speed jumps out when you’re watching on tape,” Pace said.
Depth at nickel
Cornerback Duke Shelly, the Bears’ sixth-round pick (205th overall) from Kansas. State, could provide depth at nickel back, Pace said.
“A little bit undersized (5-9, 180), but extremely athletic,” Pace said. “His competitiveness jumps off the tape.”