We are back! After a small hiatus, the Hidden Gems series is back and better than ever (hopefully). For those of you who are new here, go check out our quick breakdown of Charles Snowden III and Khyiris Tonga!
In this series we are looking at the Chicago Bears acquisitions that don’t get all the love they deserve. We all know Justin Fields and Teven Jenkins are great talents and were awesome draft picks. But what about the other guys?
In this article we are going to be talking about a sixth round pick: cornerback, Thomas Graham Jr. and his potential fit with this Bears roster. Grab your favorite beer, cocktail, or cup of coffee and let’s talk about it.
Thomas Graham Jr., Oregon
Cornerback — 5’10” — 190lbs.
Thomas Graham Jr. was a four-star cornerback out of Rancho Cucamonga high school in California. Graham played in forty career games at the University of Oregon before opting-out of his senior season due to the PAC-12 canceling their season (before the PAC-12 re-started their season months later).
Graham had a productive career in his three seasons he played in. He totaled thirty-two passes defensed, eight interceptions, and 183 tackles. Thomas Graham Jr. was selected in the sixth round, 228th overall, by the Chicago Bears.
Graham has all the mental makeup you can ask for in a nickel cornerback. He’s tough, he isn’t afraid to tackle, and he reads the offensive play in real-time well. Graham has silky hips, which helps him to stay in-phase with the receiver when cutting on routes and breaking back towards the football. He isn’t the biggest or the fastest, which is why I see him making a name for himself inside at the nickel spot in training camp and early in his career.
The loss of Kyle Fuller sucks. Thomas Graham is not the guy who is going to step in and replace Fuller on the outside (especially in his rookie year). But he does have that ball-hawking mentality that made Fuller such a weapon on Sundays. Thomas Graham had five interceptions and twenty-eight passes defensed in his last two years at Oregon.
With a full year of training and studying before getting drafted, Graham should be more mature and more prepared than ever — an underrated quality to playing cornerback in the NFL. Recognizing an offenses’ play before it happens usually puts you in position to make a play and get a turnover.
Graham will have to have a great training camp and preseason to even have a chance at starting nickel to begin the season. Kindle Vildor and Desmond Trufant seemingly have the two other starting spots locked up with Jaylon Johnson serving as our new CB1. However, Graham will provide great depth behind that starting trio. I believe he will be a starter for Chicago before his rookie contract is over. That is great value for a sixth round draft pick.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this quick dive into Bears rookie cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. Be sure to keep a look out for more upcoming articles. Like, Retweet, Share, and Follow me: @ryfootballscout on Twitter as well. We will be adding much more content as the season creeps closer and closer. Be sure to follow us @bears_atb on Twitter as well, Peace!