Here’s your classic small-school guy who Ryan Pace likes to draft in the middle rounds. Kindle Vildor had an outstanding 2018 junior season with four interceptions and 15 passes defended, and probably could have turned pro. He decided to go back to Georgia Southern in 2019, and while his numbers dipped, he played in two fewer games.
The Bears drafted Vildor with the No. 163 overall pick in the fifth round. It was their second cornerback selection of the draft and the fourth in two years.
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Strengths: Good length at his size allows him to play bigger. Looks comfortable in press coverage. Can’t argue with the production – he makes plays on the ball. Was a team captain as a senior.
Weaknesses: At 5-foot-9 7/8, Vildor might be limited to the slot. At that size, you wish he was a touch faster (4.44 40-yard). Production dipped as a senior, but he was dealing with an ankle injury suffered in October.
Vildor's scouting report on himself: "You’re getting an overall fundamentally sound cornerback that can play outside, inside, someone that’s fluid, can play nickel, can play press. Just a cornerback that can pretty much do anything in the back end that you need him to do. Somebody with amazing ball skills, good speed, good strength and just ready to compete every single Sunday."
Ryan Pace's take: "Just excellent football makeup ... Consistent production throughout his college career. Another guy that went to the Senior Bowl and played well. I know he had a pick the the first practice. He had another interception in the game. So he's got high-end ball skills. He can play inside, he can play outside. We stress confidence when we talk about the corner position, and he definitely has that confidence and that playing demeanor that we look for. A skill set that also translates well to special teams, which is going to be important especially in the early part of his development."
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So, apparently the NFL Network employs former running back LaDainian Tomlinson now. And apparently LaDainian Tomlinson was asked about the Bears. And apparently LaDainian Tomlinson thinks that, for some reason, the team's wide receiver group is the biggest question mark? And that Allen Robinson – the same Allen Robinson who had at least 5 catches in 14 of the Bears' 16 games last season – needs to be more consistent?
Anyway, I'll let you guess what Allen Robinson thinks about all this:
Couldn't have put it better myself. LT: Football Reference exists! You can look at it for free!
Chicago Bears fans would quickly point out that the best-case-scenario for any season is a Super Bowl win, but that would be unrealistic. Sure, winning the championship is a dream come true for players and fans alike, but setting a best-case-scenario for a team is more like establishing the threshold for what a successful year could look like.
That's what the folks over at Pro Football Focus did for all 32 teams, and for the Bears, a 10-win season is that mark.
How they get there: This result is the 2018 model for success, though with a little more help on offense and not quite as dominant a defense. Foles proves to be closer to the guy we’ve seen in stints in Philadelphia, which serves as a marked upgrade on what Chicago has previously got from Trubisky. He develops a strong connection with Robinson, and Anthony Miller takes the next step in his career. Defensively, Jaylon Johnson proves to be a steal early, and a pass-rush headed by Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn and Akiem Hicks is very effective at getting after the quarterback.
It certainly doesn't feel like Chicago needs that much to go right for just two more victories added to their ledger from a year ago when the offense looked more like a group that should be competing in the FCS ranks. An uptick in quarterback play is an expected result from legitimate competition and pressure to perform well on a weekly basis. Quinn is going to make the pass rush better just by being on the field. And Johnson, while unproven, has the draft pedigree required to at least contribute as a rotational player before he settles in as a starter.
None of these things are unlikely. In fact, it feels like the floor; this is what the Bears expect to happen. And if that's the case, a 10-win season shouldn't be the best-case-scenario. Instead, it should be the worst-case-scenario for a club that just one year ago was considered a favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Anything less than 10 wins will be a significant disappointment in Chicago and will increase the demand for change inside Halas Hall next winter.