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The Battle at Left Cornerback


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There will be no more wide open a battle at Bears training camp than those at left cornerback and at slot cornerback.

This doesn't necessarily mean these battles will produce Pro Bowl material but they'd better at least turn out starting level NFL talent at two critical coverage positions.

Otherwise, GM Ryan Pace will spend a good deal of time pouring over the waiver wire at cutdown day and defensive coordinator Sean Desai will be relying heavily on defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend to quickly bring any new players up to speed by season's start against the Rams.

It's easier to handicap the battle on the outside than at the slot because it has one player who has done it well enough to make a Pro Bowl in Desmond Trufant. The slot position is a little more difficult.

Left Cornerback at a Glance


Favorite: Desmond Trufant

Chances to win spot: 3 on a scale of 1-5.

Challenger: Kindle Vildor

Dark Horse: Artie Burns

People more or less forgot about Trufant in the NFL when he missed more than half of the games in the past two years due to injuries. He has to be considered the favorite to win the left cornerback spot even as coaches at minicamp repeatedly heaped praise on challenger Kindle Vildor. 

In 2018, Trufant made a career-high four interceptions, but then he played in only nine games for Atlanta due to a broken arm the next season. His completion percentage allowed was an outstanding 59.2 and he had a respectable 87.6 passer rating against when targeted in 2018. When he broke his arm, Trufant wasn't having a great 2019 season, but he did have a career-high four interceptions. He also had been beaten for four TDs, which wouldn't be good in a full season. Considering it was only with nine games played, this was a disaster.



·Jul 15, 2021

Bears CBs: Jaylon Johnson, 22 Thomas Graham, 22 Kindle Vildor, 23 Duke Shelley, 24 expect at least one of them to breakout next season, we already know JJ is good so i’m talking more about the other 3 guys, i expect one of them to solidify themselves as a CB2

Nico Stadler


What about Desmond Trufant? I think he is fine at CB2 for this year

4:40 AM · Jul 16, 2021



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Vildor rates a strong challenger on paper, even if his draft status as a fifth-rounder is  less than intimidating. It's Vildor's measurables from his draft selection process in 2020 that give him a shot.

He ran a 4.44-second 40 and had a 39 1/2-inch vertical leap. The vertical put him in the upper 10% of all cornerbacks available for that draft. The 40 time put him in the upper 15.6%.

Height, reach and wing span are critical for cornerbacks and Vildor came in solid with all of those. He had a reach of 32 1/4 inches, putting him in the top 17.5% for cornerbacks available to be drafted. His wing span of 75 1/2 inches was solid and his height was acceptable at 5-10, though not in the upper echelon.

Vildor hasn't played in the new defensive scheme Sean Desai is installing, so any system advantage he'd have over a player new to the team is somewhat negated. He does know his teammates in the secondary better and seems to be using that more in communicating during OTAs and minicamp. Communication is everything in the secondary, as former Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara used to remind everyone.


"He's becoming more vocal too," coach Matt Nagy said. "These rookies come in, last year, and they don't meet a lot of guys and they're coming in and he's coming in backing up some guys. Now? He's a little more vocal and you're seeing him let his personality show. That's a big plus for us."

No more true an example of coaches talking up Vildor has occurred than defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend doling out compliments during OTAs.

"He went out in the Minnesota game and played well against two of the top receivers, he played excellent in the New Orleans (playoff) game," Townsend said. "You didn't hear his name called much and sometimes at corner that's great because that means they're going the other way."

Flo Ottis


Looks like Kindle Vildor had another good day after picking off Andy Dalton twice yesterday. #Bears

Eric Edholm


Was out at Bears minicamp today. Look for Justin Fields story later But one player who flashed in red zone: CB Kindle Vildor Really looked confident, especially boxing out Jimmy Graham (8" taller) & knocked down jump ball Vildor took on some big WRs in college pretty well

2:53 PM · Jun 17, 2021



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Townsend's recall was a bit generous. 


Vildor was on the field only 134 snaps after Jaylon Johnson's shoulder injury and the two TDs and 131.2 passer rating he allowed when targeted didn't exactly say he held up well against Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, or especially against Green Bay's receivers in the regular-season finale.

If Vildor has measurables working in his favor, it's not his monopoly by any means.

Besides the experience edge, Trufant is taller at 6-foot. He has almost the same wing span, less than three-quarters of an inch smaller at 74 3/4 inches. While Vildor was a big leaper at 39-1/2 inches in the vertical, Trufant was at 37-1/2, which is solid. And coming out of college long ago, Trufant was a step faster at 4.38 for the combine 40.

It all seems to come down to whether Trufant can regain and maintain his health.

He kept it through minicamp and was in attendance at OTAs when many veterans on defense were off working on their own or vacationing.


Still, youth is difficult to contain. While they see second-year cornerback  Johnson improving naturally in Year 2 at right cornerback, the Bears expect something similar for Vildor even if he lacks the experience Johnson received by starting last year's first 13 games.

"So I think if the same expectation of Jaylon from Year 1 to Year 2 is high, you expect the same thing from him," Townsend said. "The things that make it great about that kid, Kindle, is how he works. He's always texting and asking about ball. So it means a lot to him."

It may be too much to expect a player who saw only 135 snaps as a rookie on defense to step up at camp and outperform a motivated veteran who has 103 starts and 14 interceptions.

Edited by soulman
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