Combine Buzz: Corner on the List

Everybody loves to focus on the first round of the NFL Draft, but teams like the Chicago Bears with a lot of holes to plug must have some luck on Day 2. With Nathan Vasher a question mark, Bears scouts spent a little time with a tall corner at the Scouting Combine. Ed Thompson has the scoop.

Nathan Vasher racked up 13 interceptions his first two years in the NFL and was a Pro Bowler in 2005, but he's picked off a grand total of two passes since signing a $28 million extension before the '07 season.

While Vasher has dealt with nagging groin and hand injuries the last two campaigns and missed a lot of action in that time, it's impossible to deny that he hasn't played well after getting the big paper from general manager Jerry Angelo. Lovie Smith's version of the Cover 2 requires physical play from both cornerback positions, but Vasher is more of an instinctual coverage player and doesn't offer much help against the run. Even though the Bears finished 30th in the league defending the passing game in 2008, it was widely accepted that the entire secondary was better after Corey Graham replaced Vasher in the starting lineup.

Depth at corner could be a concern if Vasher can't regain the form he showed earlier in his career, and the Bears are always in the market for tall, physical players at that position – like Graham in the 2007 draft and Zack Bowman in '08.


CB Bradley Fletcher
Charlie Neibergall/AP Images

Ed Thompson, the senior NFL analyst for Scout.com, has told Bear Report that Bradley Fletcher of Iowa had a formal interview with Chicago in Indianapolis at the Scouting Combine.

Fletcher (6-0.5, 196) only had one year of full-time starting experience with the Hawkeyes, but he made the most of his opportunity and became an honorable All-Big Ten selection with 60 tackles, 10 passes broken up, and three INTs. He has prototypical size for the position, as he uses his long arms and active hands to make catches difficult for enemy wide receivers. But he's viewed as somewhat of a 'tweener as of right now and could ultimately benefit from a move to free safety, mostly because he's not very fluid in his hips and won't be able to run with some of the elite burners he'll face in the NFL.

Different scouting services have differing opinions on Fletcher's value heading into April's draft, with Scott Wright from NFL Draft Countdown ranking him as the No. 15 corner available, while ESPN has him just 32nd – he didn't even make Scout.com's top 34 CBs.

But Fletcher fits the mold of what the Bears like in terms of measurables, and the fact that he could me moved to safety also bodes well for his potential on Sunday.


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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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