Safety Verone McKinley provides the Chicago Bears with an attractive pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Although undersized, his on-court play is outstanding.
The Chicago Bears have a need almost everywhere. This happens when the team loses 11 games in a season. Although the talk about the wide receiver and the offensive line is very important, there is a safety hole. They could find an answer there in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Bears finally stopped cutting Tashaun Gipson’s one-year contracts. They decided to move on. Eddie Jackson needs a partner so he can get back to his old bullet-peddling ways.
General manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus want to give Jackson the help he needs so he can focus on getting back to form. Without doing much in free agency, that means managing it through the draft.
Big plays are what caused problems in the Bears’ secondary. In far too many games, they’ve ripped defeat from the jaws of victory because the secondary gave up big plays down the straight. All the hard work the team did to hold a lead or come back and take a lead late was wasted because of a big play cleared by a cornerback or a safety.
Now there is a new diet and a new philosophy. One of the keywords Poles want the scouting department to use is resilience. We’ve seen with the free agents he’s brought in that these players are resilient. They are players drafted late or not at all, who have chips on their shoulders, and have overcome doubts to stay in the league.
Now the Poles want these types of players from the draft.
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McKinley fits this new philosophy
Verone McKinley certainly fits that description. At just 5ft 10in, scouts consider him undersized. He does, however, play much bigger than his actual size.
There is a gap between the measurable parameters of McKinley and his tape. That’s what NFL.com draft expert Lance Zierlein had to say about McKinley.
Productive safety that will create a classic match between the traits against the strip. In a turn, we have an undersized, short-arm safety with medium speed. In the other corner we have a play tape highlighting McKinley’s instincts, his quickness in the short areas, his aggressive demeanor and his nose for playing football.
McKinley is an ultra-smart footballer. He has great timing and takes great angles on tackles. Plus, he’s great at capturing what the quarterback wants to do and then jumping on the play.
McKinley has a nose for football. He hits the ball carrier with everything he has to try and get the ball out of his hands. It’s something bears need. They haven’t been able to force many turnovers in recent seasons. They want to get back to giving the offense short ground after turnovers. McKinley has had an incredible 6 interceptions in 2021 and 11 for his career.
Evidence of McKinley’s smarts on the fly comes below. He went after the fumble but when he got close to the ball he tipped the ball away from the offensive player so he could pick it up and make the big play.