Bears

NFL draft deep dive: Who is Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon?

Washington defensive back Kyler Gordon participates in a drill at the NFL Scouting Combine on March 6, 2022 in Indianapolis.

As a young kid, Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon first gravitated toward martial arts and dance. He believes those sports helped him hone his body control, a skill he uses now as an aspiring NFL cornerback.

“Even just in press technique, with my hips, and how I’m able to balance and the weight transition on the ground and just make up so much time and speed,” Gordon said at last month’s NFL Scouting Combine. “I definitely feel like that helps a lot.”

Gordon likely will be selected pretty high in the draft later this month. He’s projected as a second-round pick by many draft analysts. He could be someone who is available to the Bears, who have two second-round picks this year (39th and 48th overall).

The Bears could use more help at the cornerback position. They have 2020 second-round pick Jaylon Johnson starting at one outside cornerback spot but will need another starter to complement Johnson. Don’t rule out the Bears selecting a cornerback fairly early in the draft.

At 5-foot-11, 194 pounds, Gordon isn’t the biggest of defensive backs, but he possesses the athletic traits that NFL teams will drool over. He’ll need to work on his technique and the mental aspect of his game, but the pure athletic ability is there.

“If I were to choose one thing that I can work on, it would probably be using a little less of my athleticism and a little more technique,” Gordon said. “I feel like my athleticism can save me at times. So just getting a little bit more technical for sure.”

In four seasons at Washington, Gordon totaled 14 passes defended, two interceptions, 98 tackles and three tackles for loss. He was a key contributor on special teams, which should make him valuable to NFL teams.

The cornerback position once again is crowded with prospects in the draft. It’s likely at least three, possibly four, will be selected in the first round. There’s talent to be found in the second and third rounds. Gordon has starter potential in the NFL.

He hasn’t played a ton of slot corner. He was primarily an outside corner at Washington. Gordon said excelling as a nickel corner is all about studying film.

“[A receiver’s] route tree is a little bit bigger, I would say, than it is [on the outside],” Gordon said. “Just being able to stop all those routes, but I feel like that just comes with preparation. ... It’s only as challenging as you make it.”

Prospect breakdown

Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

Height: 5-11

Weight: 194

College career: After a redshirt season as a freshman, Gordon earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 honors in 2019 and 2020. He had a true breakout season as a redshirt junior in 2021, when he started 12 games and totaled 46 tackles, two interceptions, nine passes defended, one forced fumble and one tackle for loss. He led Washington in both passes defended and interceptions last season. His performance earned him first-team All-Pac 12 honors. He was primarily an outside cornerback in college, but did line up in the slot at times. He skipped his senior season to enter the draft.

They said it: “He’s got the size and length that you love. He’s big-time explosive. He’s a dynamic athlete.” –Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com draft analyst

Draft projection: 2nd round

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.