Weakness into strength: Bears' CB offseason a high point

Weakness into strength: Bears' CB offseason a high point
April 6, 2012, 5:14 pm
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When the 2011 season ended, only the wide receiver position was shot through with more uncertainty than cornerback. An already thin corps had only Charles Tillman under contract and with starter experience, plus nickel back D.J. Moore.

That was it.

Tim Jennings was an unrestricted free agent. Zackary Bowman had started but also was unrestricted and not in the Bears plans (he since signed with Minnesota). Corey Graham also had started but was unrestricted as well as only a backup nickel and a special-teamer.

That has changed. Dramatically, to the point where a weakness severe enough to be included in discussions using an early draft choice has now been transformed into one of the rosters deeper positions in terms of proven players.

In the span of less than three weeks, Jennings re-signed. Then former Indianapolis Colts teammate Kelvin Hayden, a starter at various times over his seven-year career, agreed to a one-year deal Thursday. Hayden comes with 47 starts between Indianapolis and Atlanta (2011).

Following close behind Hayden came Jonathan Wilhite, a five-year veteran and one with 17 combined starts in time spent with the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos (2011)

The result is a corner collection with 240 career starts and three players (Hayden, Jennings, Tillman) with more than 45. The top five all have been in playoff games and at least one conference-championship game, and all but Moore have been in Super Bowls.