Washington CB Kyler Gordon is a dancing Bear

Watch film of the 5-11, 194-pound Washington cornerback, whom the Bears drafted with the seventh pick of the second round Friday night, and you’ll see someone with tremendous body control. It looks balletic — because it is.

SHARE Washington CB Kyler Gordon is a dancing Bear
Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon walks onstage in Las Vegas after the Bears drafted him Friday night.

Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon walks onstage in Las Vegas after the Bears drafted him Friday night.

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

To borrow a phrase NFL scouts reserve for nimble linemen, Kyler Gordon is a dancing Bear.

Watch film of the 5-11, 194-pound Washington cornerback, whom the Bears drafted with the seventh pick of the second round Friday night, and you’ll see someone with tremendous body control.

It looks balletic — because it is.

Long before Gordon first played football — and long afterward, too — he was a dancer. Gordon, whose mom was a gymnastics coach, was remarkably athletic at a young age. He started dancing competitively at age 6, traveling the country while performing jazz, lyrical, contemporary and hip-hop styles. Even ballet, which he’s called the hardest thing he’s ever done.

“It just takes a lot of consistency, a lot of dedication,” he said Friday night from the NFL draft in Las Vegas, where he attended the festivities with his family. “Not only do you go there and do the practicing and all that, but as far as going home and stretching and being that flexible and having that core strength. And how strict, honestly, a lot of teachers are in how they want you to perfect your craft and whatever choreography that may be.

“I just remember going through it. It’s tough. They just demand perfection. I got a little bit of that in me, too, just trying to do what I do and perfect my craft.”

First-year general manager Ryan Poles said the Bears could see his “hips, change of direction, balance and body control” on film.

“Some of those things just aren’t normal,” Poles said. “He probably developed it from that background.”

Run his name through YouTube and you’ll find an 8-year-old Gordon on stage in a black sleeveless shirt and matching wide-leg pants dancing to “What If You,” a song by Joshua Radin. He spins and leaps and tumbles his way to being named “Mr. Spotlight” and the national dance competition.

He spent 20 hours per week in dance classes for four years. At 9, the same year he first started playing football, Gordon joined the WNBA Seattle Storm’s dance troupe. Gordon, who also practiced kung fu, stopped dancing competitively at 15.

His pro day vertical leap last month was a superhero-like 39 ½ inches. When he ran a blazing 6.67-second three-cone, he actually stumbled and corrected himself. Bears national scout Francis St. Paul was amazed. He was secretly thrilled, too, when Gordon ran a disappointing 4.52-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gordon, he figured, might actually fall from the first round to the Bears in the second round.

The Bears ran a series of draft simulations in recent weeks; on the one occasion Gordon was available in the simulation, Poles told the front office to ignore him. They were that sure, even after the 40-yard dash, he’d be gone.

“He plays way faster than that time,” St. Paul said. “And you see it all the time — there’s a lot of players that don’t run as fast as we’re all expecting but they play faster. And he has great play speed.”

He’ll have a chance to show it off right away. The Bears have a glaring need at outside cornerback opposite Jaylon Johnson, another Pac-12 expat drafted in the second round. St. Paul said he’s more natural playing outside, but Poles said he could play inside at slot cornerback, too.

Gordon, who was one of 30 players the Bears brought to Halas Hall for pre-draft interviews, picked off two passes last year, his only season as a starter, before turning pro early.

He was a backup for two years, playing behind first-round pick Trent McDuffie. He impressed the Bears with his eager special teams play.

When he got the starting job, the Bears saw a sure tackler who committed few penalties in college.

“For him, that means his feet are better than his hands, which is great,” St. Paul said. “That’s what we look for in cornerbacks.”


The Latest
Paul DeJong, Andrew Vaughn, Lenyn Sosa and Korey Lee homered and Erick Fedde worked out of trouble to navigate through six innings and provide the Sox with one of their most satisfying victories in an otherwise dismal first half.
From Garrett Crochet to Jake Eder, Bannister is watching a dominant development with the lefties in the organization.
Could the Sky’s starting lineup see a change Sunday against the Fever? Either way, Chennedy Carter will be a huge factor in their rematch with the Fever.
It might be prudent for the Sox to start monitoring Crochet’s innings, even with the dominance he has shown.