Graham was an interesting draft prospect coming into the Bears’ defense. He played at Oregon and thrived in the secondary. Graham opted out of the 2020 season in his final collegiate year.
Before then, he appeared in 40 games over three seasons at Oregon, registering 183 tackles, eight interceptions, 10.5 tackles-for-loss, and 32 pass breakups. He recorded seven tackles and one pass defended in the three preseason games.
Graham was expected to have an early and important role in the secondary after the loss of Kyle Fuller at the beginning of the offseason, and the underwhelming performance of Desmond Trufant in the preseason.
The cornerback room is not looking very good for the Chicago Bears right now.
Graham’s release foreshadows the cornerback room as the biggest liability for the Chicago Bears this upcoming season. Earlier this offseason, I wrote about how the cornerback room was already turning heads as to how much of a problem the core will be for the team.
Now, with Graham out of the picture, it’s looking a lot worse for the defense. Jaylon Johnson, Desmond Trufant, Kindle Vildor, Duke Shelley, and Artie Burns will head the group of corners going into this season.
Last season, the Bears had an underwhelming year defending the pass. Even with the power duo of Fuller and Johnson, the Bears still allowed a 64.51 percent completion percentage (16th in NFL), 233.4 passing yards per game (13th in NFL), and 1.8 touchdowns per game (20th in NFL).
Now, without Fuller nor Graham, the Bears defense will need some big names to step up in the secondary. That means guys like Trufant, Vildor, Shelley, and more importantly, former all-pro safety Eddie Jackson.
Hopefully, this release is a sign that the Bears coaching staff believes heavily in Sean Desai. Formerly the Bears defensive backs coach, this could be a sign that the group of players they have running the secondary is good enough to fit Desai’s scheme.
In the macro, this release could be a sign that Ryan Pace may not have had the offseason we thought he had, especially in the draft. As I mentioned before, Graham was supposed to have a large stake in the cornerback room. Now, the Bears don’t even see him fit for the team. Stay tuned for the rest of release day and see who rounds out the final Bears roster for the 2021-2022 season.