At the 2014 Senior Bowl, Lindenwood cornerback Pierre Desir flashed potential during the week of practices. He's a big-bodied corner (6-1, 198) who showed athleticism, physicality and ball skills.
Coming from a small school, folks have been sleeping on Desir, but in today's NFL, where wide receivers are built like tight ends, corners with size are in high demand. Which is why a player like Desir, despite playing against inferior competition in college, is considered a potential second-round pick in this year's draft.
Desir held his pro day yesterday and the Chicago Bears were one of six NFL teams on hand for the workout. The other teams present: St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Let's break down game film of Pierre to find out what he'll offer the Bears if the club selects him on Day 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Pierre Desir (6-1, 198)40-yard dash: 4.59
Short shuttle: 4.30
Desir has Richard Sherman size, and after Sherman's performance the past few years, everyone is looking for the next coming. Big corners, even those who lack top-end speed, are akin to gold in the eyes of many NFL general managers. Desir fits that criteria and is a physical defender to boot.
Desir has loose hips and a very fluid backpedal. He's aggressive when the ball is in the air, tracking it well and attacking it like a wide receiver. In press coverage, he's shows good balance and a ton of confidence. Zone coverage is where he really stands out, as it showcases his instincts and quick-twitch ability to react to passes in his area.
Against the run, Desir gives good effort and is a solid tackler. He's considered a high-character athlete and was a two-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll. He's an accountable husband and father of two.
Desir is not fast by any stretch. His 4.59 time at the combine was disappointing and he may struggle to keep up with NFL receivers on the vertical release. He'll have a hard time in press coverage if he can't jam wideouts at the line of scrimmage.
Playing at a Division II school, questions swirl about the lack of talent he faced on a weekly basis. He dominated at Lindenwood but he rarely, if ever, faced NFL-level competition. At the Senior Bowl, he lacked ideal awareness in man coverage, often losing track of the receiver after the ball had been thrown. He also doesn't have great hands.
Desir transferred from Division II Washburn (Kan.) his junior season and was extremely productive his two years at Lindenwood, intercepting 13 passes and recording 30 pass breakups. As a four-year collegiate starter, he racked up 25 interceptions.
He earned AFCA All-American honors in both 2012 and 2013, and was a first-team All-MIAA selection both of those seasons. He led the MIAA in passes defended per game this year despite teams throwing away from him nearly 95 percent of the time.
Desir erased questions about the level of competition he faced in college with solid performances against the nation's best players in both the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game.
At his pro day, Desir ran similar to his 40 time at the combine (4.59) yet he improved three inches on his vertical jump (38.0). He struggled some during positional drills in Indianapolis but he reportedly looked much better yesterday.
With Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, the Bears don't have an immediate need at cornerback. Yet Tillman (33) is signed for just one year and Jennings (29) is playing on a two-year deal. Neither player is a long-term option. The search for their replacements begins now, which is why Chicago sent scouts to Desir's pro day.
He has Tillman's size and, like Tillman, Desir is an under-the-radar second rounder from a small school. The Bears have watched him perform in two All-Star games, at the combine and his pro day. At this point, they know Desir's potential as a starting wide corner. If they are sold on him, and GM Phil Emery addresses defensive tackle in the first round, don't be surprised if Desir gets the call on Day 2 of the draft.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.