A torn ACL, MCL and hamstring he suffered in the preseason pushed Cromartie down draft boards. Still he took the chance to go pro with his family in mind.
"It was tough for me. For me, when I grew up, I was always in the projects," Cromartie said. "So it was money. It was always a problem for us family-wise. But I feel like (now that) I'm taking on this opportunity now we won't have any financial problems for the rest of our lives."
Cromartie began to change his fortune at the NFL Combine when he proved to be healthy by participating in all the drills. He clocked in at 4.51 seconds during the 40. Less than a month later he improved to roughly 4.4 seconds at FSU's pro day and had a 42-inch vertical jump.
Scout.com ranks Cromartie as the fifth best cornerback prospect, earning a four-star rating. An added bonus with the six-foot-2, 208-pounders game is his experience in the return game.
Meaning Cromartie could fill two needs for the Bears as a rookie. Along with being the nickel back, he could compete for the kick and punt return job in training camp.
TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
Positive: Natural cover corner who shuts down opponents. Physical, sized well and jams opponents at the line. Mirrors receivers down the field and offers blanket coverage. Flips his hips in transition, quickly gets his head back around and immediately locates the ball. Aggressive in run defense.
Negative: Lacks quick and fluid footwork in reverse. Slow reacting to receivers' moves.
Analysis: A junior who entered the season with high grades before his knee injury, Cromartie offers terrific upside for the next level. Will see playing time as a rookie if given a clean bill of health.