When the Bears drafted Terell Smith in the fifth round of this year’s draft, there wasn’t as much fanfare for him as there was for other players. He was a middle-round guy and he was the second cornerback the Bears selected in the draft. Tyrique Stevenson drew so much attention and so much praise, there wasn’t much left for Smith.
But Smith was a name that started popping up more and more as spring turned to summer. He turned heads with an interception in rookie minicamp. Coaches singled him out and complimented his play. When Smith got hurt, those same coaches talked about how disappointed they were that they weren’t going to be able to see him in practice. They were curious to see how much he could learn and apply on the field.
Now that training camp is here, Smith is back and healthy, and he could be developing into a player that deserves a little spotlight.
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Over the past few days of camp, Smith has started receiving starting outside cornerback reps next to Jaylon Johnson. Previously, Stevenson– the second-round draft pick– had been the man working with the ones in that spot. Now it’s turning into more of a split, however the Bears are adamant we shouldn’t read into it.
“It’s a rep plan, not a game plan,” said defensive coordinator Alan Williams. “The lineups will change daily. They’ll change by period.”
The thing is, days and periods have gone by and Smith has continued to work with the ones. That’s not to say Smith has locked up a starting job, like Braxton Jones did last season when he rotated in for starting left tackle reps and never left. But Smith is starting to look like a serious player in the cornerback competition.
“He’s been really solid,” said Matt Eberflus. “He’s learning the position. He’s got a lot of good speed. He’s got a lot of good long speed to him. He’s got good size. He’s smart. He knows what to do and how to do it. We’re going to create competition at those spots and that’s certainly one of them that we are doing that. It’s good to see him in there. He did a nice job.”