Our Pledge To You


Bears position breakdown: The cornerbacks

Kyle Fuller (23) celebrates with teammates after an interception during the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field on Dec3. (Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times)

Eighth in a position-by-position series of training-camp capsules on every player on the Bears’ 90-man roster. The Bears open training camp on Friday at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.

No. 20 Prince Amukamara

Eighth year
6-0, 204 pounds

Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2017.

Age: 29

NFL experience:  83 games (69 starts) in seven seasons.

Background: A first-round draft pick (19th overall) by the Giants out of Nebraska in 2011, Amukamara suffered a broken foot in his second practice of his first training camp and struggled with injuries throughout five seasons in New York. He signed with the Jaguars in 2016 and had an unremarkable season — no interceptions for the first time in his career. Amukamara was solid but unspectacular (no interceptions, seven pass break-ups) with the Bears in 2017 and signed a three-year, $27 million contract ($18 million guaranteed) in the offseason.

Notable: Amukamara allowed one touchdown and an 89.1 passer rating when quarterbacks threw his way in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus.

The skinny: At 29, in his second year in Vic Fangio’s defense, the steady, grounded Amukamara should be as good, if not better than he was in 2016. But this is still a position to keep an eye on, after seeing Tracy Porter and Tim Jennings falter after impressive prove-it seasons with the Bears.

No. 23 Kyle Fuller

Fifth season
5-11, 190 pounds
Virginia Tech

Acquired: First-round draft pick (14th overall), 2014.

Age: 26

NFL experience: 48 games (46 starts) in four seasons.

Background: Made a virtually immediate impact with two interceptions in a victory over the 49ers in Week 2 of his rookie season and a pick against the Jets the following week. But he has struggled to build upon that hot start and was playing for his Bears career last year after missing the 2016 season rolling seemingly routine arthroscopic knee surgery in the preseason. Responded with a career-best season — an NFL-best 22 pass break-ups, two interceptions and two tackles-for-loss.

Notable: After declining his fifth-year option in 2017, the Bears signed Fuller to a four-year, $56 million contract ($18 million guaranteed) — quickly matching the offer sheet Fuller signed with the Packers.

The skinny: Even after proving himself last season, Fuller faces an even bigger challenge this year — to be as good or better after signing the big contract as he was when he was playing for it. Theoretically, that’s the benefit of continuity — he’s in his fourth year in Vic Fangio’s defense, playing with teammates he’s familiar with.

No. 25 Marcus Cooper

Sixth year
6-2, 197 pounds

Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2017.

Age: 28

NFL experience: 68 games (28 starts) in five seasons.

Background: Cooper started 11 games in three seasons for the Chiefs in 2013-15 and was traded to the Cardinals in 2016. Playing opposite Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson, he led the Cardinals with four interceptions and was named a Pro Bowl alternate. Struggled as a starter with the Bears in 2017 and lost his job after missing one game with a back injury and played primarily on special teams

Notable: Despite the tough season in 2017, Cooper has made plays in the NFL — three picks for the Chiefs in 2013, four for the Cardinals in 2016, including a 60-yard return for a touchdown. And he returned a blocked field goal 73 yards for the Bears last season that led to a field goal in an overtime victory against  the Steelers.

The skinny: Cooper opened training camp last season as a starter. This year he’s got to earn his roster spot and is motivated to prove last season was fluke. In a crowded cornerback field, his experience is a factor.

No. 37 Bryce Callahan

Fourth season
5-10, 191 pounds

Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

Age: 26

NFL experience: 32 games (19 starts) in three seasons.

Background: Promoted from the practice squad in Week 7 as a rookie, Callahan made an immediate impact with seven pass break-ups, four tackles-for-loss and one sack in nine games. Started 10 games, mostly as a nickel back  in 2016 and had nine pass breakups. Started six games last season and had six pass break-ups, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

Notable: Callahan returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown against the Vikings in Week 17 last year. He has missed 16 games in three seasons, including four last year with a knee injury.

The skinny: With his natural cover ability, ball skills and solid tackling ability, Callahan has established himself as a productive slot cornerback, with room for growth — he might have the best pure corner skills on the team. The only question — again — is whether he can stay healthy.

No. 22 Cre’Von LeBlanc

Third season
5-11, 190 pounds
Florida Atlantic

Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2016.

Age: 23

NFL experience: 29 games (10 starts) in two season.

Background: Signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2016, LeBlanc was released in the cutdown to 53 despite a strong preseason performance and quickly signed by the Bears. He started nine games in 2016, tying Tracy Porter for the team lead in pass break-ups with 13 and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. Backed up Bryce Callahan as the slot corner in 2017, playing five games after Callahan suffered a knee injury vs. the Saints, with 14 tackles, a sack, two pass break-ups and a forced fumble.

Notable: When he started nine games as a rookie in 2016, LeBlanc was sixth in the NFL among cornerbacks in Pro Football Focus’ playmaker index, a percentage of interceptions and pass break-ups per targeted play.

The skinny: LeBlanc enters training camp clearly behind Bryce Callahan as the starting slot cornerback. He’s a starter-quality back-up with playmaker ability, but in a crowded field could be fighting for a roster spot if others impress.

No. 27 Sherrick McManis

Ninth season
6-1, 193 pounds

Acquired: Trade with the Texans for fullback Tyler Clutts in 2012.

Age: 30

NFL experience: 107 games (five starts) in eight seasons with the Texans and Bears.

Background: A fifth-round draft pick (144th overall) by the Texans in 2010, McManis has been a special teams ace for most of his eight-year NFL career. He’s led the Bears in special teams tackles the last three seasons (17 in 2015; 13 in 2016; and 12 in 2017 — tied with Benny Cunningham — despite missing four games) and ranked in the top three in all six of his seasons with the Bears. McManis blocked a field goal against the Steelers last year that nearly was returned for a touchdown.

Notable: McManis signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract ($1.1 million guaranteed) in free agency in the offseason. He is the only player on the roster who played for Love Smith with the Bears.

The skinny: McManis is a valuable and cost-efficient special-teams player and mentor. His absence was felt almost immediately after he suffered an injury against the Ravens. But as the Bears upgrade their roster and special-teams, his spot could become tenuous in a hurry.

No. 25 Jonathon Mincy

First season
5-10, 196 pounds

Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2018.

Age: 26

NFL experience: None.

Background: Signed by the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2015, but was waived in the cutdown to 75. Played two seasons in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes. He had one interception and two forced fumbles in 2016 and two interceptions in 2017, when he made the Eastern Division all-star team. He signed with the Bears after a try-out in December.

Notable: Mincy attracted interest from at least 12 NFL teams after the CFL season last year. He was a starter on Auburn’s national championship runner-up team in 2013 and a second-team all-SEC pick in 2014.

The skinny: Mincy was an effective press man corner in the CFL and a rare bright spot on losing teams in Montreal. But this is a significant step up in class and he’ll be challenged to stand out in a crowded field. Don’t put it past him, though. He’s got skill and a solid college pedigree.

No. 35 Doran Grant

Fourth season
5-10, 196 pounds
Ohio State

Acquired: Signed to the practice squad in 2017.

Age: 25

NFL experience: three games (no starts) in four seasons.

Background: A fourth-round draft pick (121st) by the Steelers in 2015, Grant started his rookie season on the practice squad but was promoted in Week 14 and played three games (one defensive snap). He was cut by the Steelers in 2016 and was on the practice squad of the Bills, Giants and Jaguars before the Bears signed him to their practice squad in Week 4. He re-signed on a futures contract in January.

Notable: Grant had five interceptions as a starting cornerback on Ohio State’s 2014 national championship team. With the Jaguars in training camp last year, he intercepted Tom Brady in a joint-workout practice in Foxboro.

The skinny: Enters camp as just another face in the crowd after practice-squad stints with the Steelers, Bills, Giants, Jaguars and Bears. His experience in Vic Fangio’s defense with the Bears last year can’t hurt, but he’s a long-shot to make the roster.

No. 29 Rashard Fant

First season
5-10, 180 pounds

Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

Age: 23

NFL experience: None.

Background: Four-star athlete from Georgia who scored touchdowns from six positions in high school and was recruited to play Division I football and basketball, Fant became Indiana’s all-time leader in pass break-ups with 53. He was second in the nation in that category in 2015 (22) and 2016 (17). Four-year regular and three-year starter who finished his career with 132 tackles, five tackles-for-loss and five interceptions, including one pick for a touchdown in 2016. Fant had 24 tackles, one interception and nine pass break-ups as a senior in 2017.

Notable: Fant suffered a torn pectoral muscle preparing for the scouting combine, but ran a 4.36 40 at Indiana’s pro day.

The skinny: Cornerbacks with Fant’s ball skills, speed and competitiveness who played on bad defenses on sub-.500 teams usually deserve a good look at an NFL camp. The question is whether he’ll get it in a crowded field in Bourbonnais.

No. 21 Michael Joseph

First season
6-1, 187 pounds

Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

Age: 23

NFL experience: None.

Background: Oswego product who never started in high school, walked on at Division III Dubuque, but bloomed late in a highly productive career, with 15 interceptions. A three-year all-conference pick and a first-team Division III All-American in 2017, when he had eight interceptions and 16 pass break-ups. Became the first Division III player to win the Cliff Harris award as the small college defensive player of the year.

Notable: The only Division III player invited to the combine, Joseph did not run the 40, but had a 34-inch vertical. He later ran a 4.52 40 at Iowa State’s pro day.

The skinny: Despite his small-school pedigree, Joseph has the size, short-area quickness and aggressiveness and enough speed to warrant a good look as a developmental player. He’ll likely have to show special-teams prowess to make it to the practice squad.

No. 33 Kevin Toliver

First season
6-2, 192 pounds
Louisiana State

Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

Age: 22

NFL experience: None.

Background: Five-star recruit ranked the No. 1 defensive back in the country (and No. 6 overall) by ESPN.com, committed to LSU as a sophomore. Started eight games as a freshman but only 10 in the next two seasons because of injuries (shoulder in 2016) and suspensions for breaking team rules. Started five games in 2017, with one interception, 11 pass break-ups and two tackles-for-loss. Declared for the draft with a year of eligibility remaining.

Notable: After leaving school early, Toliver was expected to go between the third and sixth rounds in mock drafts, but went undrafted.

The skinny: With his size, physicality and aggressiveness, it won’t take long to fall in love with the edgy Toliver, who evokes comparisons to a young Richard Sherman. But after a sketchy, disappointing college career, he’s got a long way to go. A willingness to be coaches, would be a good place to start.

No. 43 John Franklin

First season
6-1, 186 pounds
Florida Atlantic

Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent 2018.

Age: 23

NFL experience: None.

Background: A football and track star in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Franklin was recruited to Florida State as a quarterback, but transferred to East Mississippi junior college and then to Auburn, where he was a backup in 2016 (14-of-26, 204 yards, one touchdown; 450 rushing yards, two TDs) before transferring to Florida Atlantic in 2017 and switching to wide receiver. He caught seven passes for 95 yards and a touchdown, and rushed   16 times for 229 yards (14.3 average) and two touchdowns.

Notable: Franklin ran on Florida State’s ACC championship 4 x 100 relay team as a sophomore in 2014. He returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown in a high school all-star game.

The skinny: Franklin has intriguing athletic ability, but as a lot to learn at a new position. He has kick-return potential, but didn’t do a lot of that in college, either. A long shot, but one worth keeping an eye on.

No. 46 Nick Orr

First season
5-10, 187 pounds
Texas Christian

Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

Age: 22

NFL experience: None.

Background: A three-star recruit who chose TCU over Baylor, Oklahoma State and Missouri, Orr started 39-of-40 games was a three-year starter at safety for the Horned Frogs. He started two games at cornerback and 11 at safety as a sophomore in 2015 (50 tackles, one sack, three tackles-for-loss, one interception, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries). He was second-team all-Big 12 as a junior in 2016 (86 tackles, four interceptions, six pass break-ups) and first-team all-Big 12 in 2017 (66 tackles, three interceptions, five pass break-ups, one fumble recovery).

Notable: Orr’s father, Terry Orr, played on two Super Bowl-winning teams (1987, 1991) with the Redskins in his eight-year career as a tight end.

The skinny: Orr is a big-hitting, undersized safety who was particularly strong against the run at TCU. Deon Bush has a two-year head start on him, but Orr has a chance to make an impact with the Bears light at safety entering camp.