The Bears currently have ten cornerbacks on the roster, which means it's going to be tough competition in Bourbonnais, especially for an undrafted free agent. However, Dion Byrum could be a sleeper headed into training camp.
The top three spots on the depth chart are already locked up with Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman as the starters and Ricky Manning as the nickel back. Dante Wesley has impressed the coaching staff in his brief time with the team and will most likely be the dime back. While second round pick Devin Hester will contribute immediately in the return game, he's raw at corner and will take time to develop.
It's hard to imagine the Bears carrying six cornerbacks on the roster, but if an injury were to occur in the preseason it would put a wrinkle into the equation. Dion Byrum is the next best option among young corners Willie Amos, Abraham Elimimian, Carlos Hendricks and Alfonso Marshall.
Byrum, who started 30 of his last 33 games at Ohio University, was awarded All-Conference and All-America honors as a senior when he had 45 tackles six interceptions and six pass break-ups. He also ran two of the picks back for scores. As a junior, he posted 50 stops and seven pass break-ups.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder possesses 4.43 forty-speed. He also has the ability to handle both punt- and kick-return duties.
It would be a luxury to bring Byrum along slowly on the practice squad. If the Bears were to cut him there's a good chance another team would be happy to claim his rights. It just so happens Chicago upgraded the secondary in the off-season to the point where Byrum is at best a long shot to stick around.
TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
Positive: Game-impacting cornerback with top ball skills. Fluid transitioning off the line, displays outstanding playing speed and runs with opponents downfield. Quickly locates the ball and positions himself to defend the throw. Has a decisive move to the play. Possesses a good sense of timing and outstanding hands for the pick.
Negative: Bites on receivers' moves or fakes. Gets tall in his backpedal. Tends to do more hitting than wrap-up tackling.
Analysis: With opposing quarterbacks consistently throwing away from him last year, Byrum developed into an outstanding cover corner. Offers potential in nickel packages during the early stages of his career with future ability as a starter.
Did you miss our previous interview features with Dion Byrum? If so, click here to read "Byrum Ready to Defy the Odds" and our Insiders feature, Colts Prospect Q&A: Dion Byrum.
Jason Klabacha is the publisher of BearReport.com, our Chicago affiliate on the Scout.com. network.
Colts Prospect Update: Dion Byrum
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