Bears

Bears getting a hungry Kevin Toliver after CB went undrafted

Bears getting a hungry Kevin Toliver after CB went undrafted

Former LSU cornerback Kevin Toliver has quickly separated himself from the crop of rookies and veterans trying to impress Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears coaching staff at the team's rookie minicamp this weekend. 

Despite an up-and-down college career, Toliver, a former five-star recruit, declared early for the 2018 NFL Draft. He was supposed to get drafted on Day 3. Instead, his name was never called. He agreed to terms with the Bears shortly after the draft concluded.

“Even if I would’ve gone first round, I still would’ve been hungry, but going undrafted, that just made me hungrier,” Toliver said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “They’re going to get a different beast out of me than they saw at LSU.”

Toliver, who stands 6-2 and 192 pounds, didn't live up to his recruiting hype as a college defensive back. He managed only two interceptions during his time in Baton Rouge and started just five games in 2017. His decision to turn pro was a surprise.

Still, he had favorable scouting reports from leading NFL draft analysts.

"Toliver was a top-rated recruit who was largely disappointing relative to expectations at LSU," NFL.com's Lance Zierlein wrote before the 2018 NFL draft.  "However, his play showed improvement this season and he has the size and physical ability that teams are typically willing to bet on. Toliver lacks premium ball skills but his size and physicality could be a good match for a zone-heavy unit or with a potential move to safety. Toliver's value lies more in his traits than his production and teams will have to weigh his future potential against his past history -- both on and off the field."

The Bears need a player with Toliver's traits. Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara are locked in as starters, but both have had issues with injuries. Toliver has enough natural ability to challenge players like Cre'Von LeBlanc and Marcus Cooper for the first man off the bench. 

While getting drafted is something of a badge of honor for players, it's not about where you start. Instead, it's about opportunity. For Toliver, he'll be given every chance to prove he can be a beast in the Bears' secondary.

Report: Bears have ‘been in touch’ with Bengals about Andy Dalton trade

Report: Bears have ‘been in touch’ with Bengals about Andy Dalton trade

As the Bears look to acquire a veteran quarterback to push Mitch Trubisky, one name that’s been thrown around is Andy Dalton.

According to The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr., the Bears have “been in touch” with the Bengals regarding a potential Dalton trade.

Dalton comes with a hefty cap hit ($17.5 million) and is only under contract through 2020, but Trubisky being on his rookie deal would help the Bears stomach his salary. The 32-year-old threw for 3,494 yards with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season, sporting 78.3 passer rating.

Adding Dalton would give the Bears insurance in case Trubisky’s 2019 struggles persist next season. Dalton is an established veteran who is familiar with Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The two worked together from 2016-18, when Lazor was Cincinnati’s quarterbacks coach (2016) and OC (2017-18).

Dehner’s report doesn't offer any specific packages the Bears and Bengals have discussed. However, barring a surprise, Cincinnati will select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1 overall in the NFL draft in two months. Considering Burrow is set to become the Bengals’ quarterback of the future, trading Dalton will give him the chance to play elsewhere.

The Bears have made it clear Trubisky is entering 2020 as their starter. However, someone like Dalton could usurp him if the former No. 2 overall pick can’t find his footing this season.

Black History Month: The courage to be a black quarterback

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USA TODAY

Black History Month: The courage to be a black quarterback

NBCS Chicago is celebrating Black History Month with special episodes to discuss the impact of the black athlete in sports. In the final episode of the series, Laurence Holmes is joined by his "Football Aftershow" teammate and former Chicago Bear Alex Brown to discuss, making coaching in the NFL more diverse, is the Rooney Rule helping, and the common practice of moving black quarterbacks to other positions.

(4:20) - Alex Brown on being pushed to not play quarterback in high school

(9:15) - Jalen Hurts asked would he be willing to change positions in the NFL

(17:03) - Alex Brown on playing in a Super Bowl that featured 2 black head coaches

(22:12) - Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy not being mentioned for a head coaching job

(26:00) - Does the Rooney Rule work?

(40:35) - Overcoming unfairness

(44:28) - Watching a NFL where there are successful black quarterbacks

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player  below:

Under Center Podcast

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