Chicago Bears second-round rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon has had no trouble attracting attention early in his NFL career. Unfortunately for him, that attention has mostly come from the quarterbacks he plays against.
Baptism by Air
At this point, it’s no secret that opposing offenses have been bullying rookie Kyler Gordon heavily throughout his first four games as a Chicago Bear. Per NFL Rookie Watch, Gordon leads the league in allowed passing, having given up 412 yards going into week six. That is… not great, to say the least. Offensive coordinators all seem to have placed a big red ‘X’ over number 6 in their game planning sheets against the Bears, and part of that undoubtedly has to do with the corner opposite to him, Jaylon Johnson. Through the two games Johnson has played, he has yet to be targeted once, a stat shared with no other qualified corner in the league. While it’s hard to say definitively that opposing quarterbacks are scared to throw in Johnson’s direction, it isn’t surprising that testing the rookie has emerged as the more attractive option so far. Notably, Aaron Rodgers had no trouble limiting his throws to Kyler Gordon’s side of the field in week two, being plainly visible to such a degree that it prompted acknowledgement from the sportscasters several times throughout the game. Chicago has yet to provide an answer to this strategy, as Gordon has consistently been a step behind in coverage, and unfortunately hasn’t made up for it in the rest of his play. This Sunday against the Giants, Kyler Gordon was a clear liability while defending the outside run, and managed to rack up several avoidable penalties while doing so. Going into week six, it’s safe to say that there hasn’t been much to get excited about when it comes to Kyler Gordon and his development.
We begged you, Ryan Poles
Keen-eyed readers might have noticed that the title of this article doesn’t quite add up. I assure you, it was not a typo. With Gordon’s 413 passing yards allowed so far on the season, that leaves one additional reason why Gordon’s selection in the draft will go down as a massive mistake; and his name is George Pickens. In the weeks leading up to the 2022 NFL draft, it felt as if Bears fans and analysts alike were shouting from the rooftops at Ryan Poles to draft a wide receiver with the 39th overall pick. With the combination of a talent-deprived receiving room coming into the offseason and an exceptionally deep wide receiver class coming out of college, this was the obvious choice for Poles to make. We all know what happened next: Poles waited until the third round to select a wide receiver in Velus Jones Jr, after using his two picks in the second round to instead take defensive backs Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker. These selections look especially bad in retrospect, considering standout Georgia wide receiver George Pickens was still on the board at the time of both of those picks. With mind-boggling catches and elite route running on display in his first four games as a Steeler, it becomes clearer every week that Pickens is a superstar in the making; while conversely, Kyler Gordon has struggled mightily. Although it has already become somewhat clear that Gordon’s selection might have been Ryan Poles’ first big whiff in his run as the Bears GM, the silver lining here is that strong safety Jaquan Brisker has done a lot to turn some heads in his first few performances. While this might be little in terms of consolation for Bears fans, the sad truth is that there isn’t much else to get excited about right now. We are bad. We knew we were going to be bad long before the first ball was snapped. Many had looked towards the rookies for reassurance; a sneak peek into what could one day be the core components of a future Bears team; one that invites confidence in its fans and unease in its opponents. A team that can compete for a superbowl; a roster that can beat that one team (whose name currently escapes me) from Wisconsin. Fans can only hope that Kyler Gordon will be a contributing piece to that dream soon.
Allowed -1 yards this week on 7 targets. He’ll be alright