4. Kareem Jackson
If the Bears are unable (or unwilling) to re-sign Callahan, they are going to need an adequate replacement. No longer are slot cornerbacks simply afterthoughts on the defense. We saw how important they are in the Bears’ playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, as Golden Tate‘s game-winning touchdown was scored on Callahan’s replacement.
Going into next season, they simply can’t rely on Sherrick McManis as a full-time replacement. There are thoughts of having undrafted free-agent Kevin Toliver fill that role, but the second-year man was inconsistent in coverage at times in year-one, and his ability as a sure-handed tackler is unknown at the moment. Though that decision will come down to the new defensive staff’s evaluation of Toliver and his ability to satisfy that role.
With teams utilizing more three-wide-receiver sets and expanding the role of the running back in the passing game, it’s crucial to have a solid slot defender. Kareem Jackson could be that player and could step in from day-one without significant drop-off from Callahan.
What is also intriguing about Jackson is that not only did her perform very well at the slot position, but Houston used him at safety where he was also very effective. Therefore, he’s a player that could give the Bears some versatility and increase depth.