6 Bears on Thin Ice Heading Into the NFL Draft

These 6 Bears aren't on steady ground
Chicago Bears, Khalil Herbert
Chicago Bears, Khalil Herbert / Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Elijah Hicks, Safety

A seventh-round pick out of Cal in 2022, Elijah Hicks already accomplished more than most expected out of him. He joined a defensive backfield that has been rebuilt over the past few years with several players taken early on Day 2 surrounding him.

He still managed to start two games as a rookie and another six this past season — while appearing in a total of 32 games. Hicks took part in just 18 percent of the defensive snaps as a rookie but saw that number increase to 46 percent this past season.

Despite his increased workload, he's not guaranteed anything heading into year three. The Bears weren't thrilled with the play from their safeties and signed Kevin Byard and Jonathan Owens this offseason.

Owens spent the first four seasons of his career in Houston and broke out in 2022 with 125 tackles and three pass defenses. He was in Green Bay in 2023 and had another 84 tackles with three pass defenses, and ran a fumble back for a touchdown.

Byard spent seven and a half years with the Tennessee Titans before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles last year. He was supposed to help shore up their secondary but they remained an issue and he was released this offseason.

Hicks will have his work cut out for him as he tries to stand out in a suddenly crowded secondary. He does have his special teams ability to lean on, which might end up being his saving grace.