Evaluating Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon’s First Three NFL Starts

Ever since the Bears’ 2018 season, the secondary has slowly deteriorated over time. With Eddie Jackson and Jaylon Johnson being the only reliable options on defense last season, the Bears looked to address their weak secondary.

The Bears drafted Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker in the second round of last year’s draft, hoping the two could make a difference on defense. The two players are phenomenal athletes, Brisker has a 40-yard dash time of 4.43, while Gordon has a freakish vertical of 39.5 inches. After looking good in training camp and preseason, Bears fans dubbed these two ball hawks for success, but only one has found his groove in the NFL. Despite Jaquan Brisker being picked after Kyler Gordon, fans across the league knew he was league ready. Brisker has proven that statement, allowing 37 yards on 96 coverage snaps. The former Penn State defensive back also has 15 solo tackles in the three games he’s played this season. In Brisker’s first NFL game he also recovered a fumble forced by Jaylon Johnson’s peanut punch. Jaquan Brisker and Bears’ long-time safety Eddie Jackson complement each other very well, bringing fear into the eyes of opposing quarterbacks.

However, the same cannot be said for Kyler Gordon. The Bears’ first pick in the 2022 draft has shown glimpses of his full potential but still struggles to cover most receivers. Kyler Gordon has allowed 326 receiving yards in this season’s first three games, the most of any cornerback by 66 yards. Last week against Houston, with Jaylon Johnson out with a quad injury, Gordon had the opportunity to step and prove that he’s deserving to start. Gordon did have some nice plays, including a nice pass deflection on an attempted screen pass forcing a punt, but Gordon’s defensive struggles continued leading to a close game down the wire. I think the catalyst of Gordon’s inconsistency is him changing positions to nickel cornerback. It’s not common to see a rookie change positions, but the Bears needed to make the adjustment.

Ever since Bryce Callahan left the Bears, the nickel position has been a dull spot on defense. I want to continue to see Kyler Gordon play nickel this season to see if can modify himself to the position. However, if he continues to play poorly the best decision would be to put him back at outside cornerback beside Jaylon Johnson. I’m confident that Kyler Gordon will adapt to the NFL’s environment just as Brisker already has.

Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah had a rough transition to the NFL, but he solidified himself as one of the league’s top corners this season; I think Kyler Gordon could follow the same path. There’s still a lot of football yet to be played this season. We could see Gordon or Brisker make leaps to stardom with the 14 regular season games left.
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