Every football player who makes it to the NFL is great. Whether it’s the franchise quarterback, superstar wide receiver, elite edge rusher, or even the kicker, they make up a select number of athletes who overcome the odds and make it to the league.
But making it to the NFL is only part of the battle; players also have to stay In the NFL. And the length of a player’s career is usually determined by how much they outwork the competition.
“I’m ready to put in more work,” Bears’ second-round pick Kyler Gordon said Friday from the team’s rookie minicamp. “There’s more than just athletic ability at this point. I feel like now I’m just going to keep increasing my knowledge of the game in every way I can.”
Gordon, whose raw athleticism is part of what makes him a top-shelf cornerback prospect, is proving early in his time with the Bears that he has the mental makeup required to excel as a pro. He knows his success won’t be determined by just his twitch or closing speed. He’ll need to thrive in the film room as well as build the rapport with his Bears teammates that he had at the University of Washington
“So (it’s) just really having that chemistry. ‘What do you see? What are your concepts? What are your route formations, tendencies, receivers that are giving you different moves? Like what do you see?’ I think that tandem itself is good.”
Kyler Gordon headlines exciting young Bears secondary
Chicago’s secondary is suddenly young and incredibly talented. Gordon and Jaylon Johnson are as exciting of a cornerback duo as any the Bears have had in many years. The same can be said at safety with Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker. And while General Manager Ryan Poles was criticized for prioritizing the secondary over the offense in the 2022 NFL Draft, the resulting depth chart is incredibly promising.
“The defensive coach, the long-term outlook by the GM, it looks like they want to get back to old-school Chicago football where they play great defense and good-enough offense,” an evaluator told The Athletic’s Mike Sando. “I’m OK with their draft because they are sticking to their philosophy.”
Gordon checks every box. He has a chance to become a star in Chicago and a favorite of a fanbase that’s always appreciated defensive football. More importantly, his effort and desire to be great will resonate in the locker room and spread to his teammates.
Building a winning culture is as important as acquiring talent for NFL teams in a rebuild. The Chicago Bears accomplished both with Gordon.