Bears Sign Former Rival DB, Showing Interest in Former Rams Pass Rusher

Harrison Hand

Getty Harrison Hand has landed on the practice squad of the Chicago Bears.

It didn’t take long for the Chicago Bears to fill the slot on their practice squad vacated by cornerback Thomas Graham Jr.

After the Cleveland Browns signed Graham off Chicago’s PS and added him to their 53-man roster, the Bears had a vacancy to fill, and they’ve filled it with former Minnesota Vikings corner Harrison Hand, according to the NFL’s September 13 waiver wire.

Per the wire, the Bears also hosted linebacker Chris Garrett and defensive end Gerri Green for workouts.

So, who are these guys?

Harrison Hand: Background & Stats

The 5-foot-11, 197-pound Hand was a fifth-round pick for the Vikings in 2020. In college, he spent three years at Baylor before transferring to Temple as a junior, where he played the 2019 season. He accumulated 59 total tackles (four for loss), five pass breakups, a forced fumble and 3.0 interceptions in 12 games with the Owls.

Hand, who contributed mostly on special teams with the Vikings, amassed 22 tackles, three pass breakups and an interception in his 23 games as a pro (numbers via Pro Football Reference). He was waived as part of the team’s roster cuts this year, but Minnesota was hoping to bring him back on its practice squad. That didn’t happen.

According to Darren Wolfson of KSTP News, the Vikings were going to re-sign Hand, but the New York Giants claimed him off waivers before Minnesota got the chance. Wolfson also noted that the Vikings didn’t cut him because of performance issues; He was released so the team could avoid cutting him and later paying him a pricier injury settlement just to let him go again.

As Wolfson also noted, Hand is healthy — his release was largely a money-saving move by Minnesota.

A raw defensive back with decent coverage skills, here’s what draft expert Lance Zierlein had to say about Hand heading into the draft:

Outside cornerback with good size, but a player who needs to find the proper coverage fit to help him do his job. Hand has played press, off-man and a variety of zones. His recognition and response from zone is adequate, but he doesn’t have the necessary transition quickness and burst to stay close enough with NFL-caliber targets. Hand is fairly competitive and disciplined in coverage, but the skill level appears to be average. He might have a future as a backup for a zone-heavy cover team, but he needs to improve his run support and prove he can handle some special teams duties.

A Bit About Chris Garrett & Gerri Green

Green has a past connection with current Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, as the 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end was a sixth-round draft pick for the Indianapolis Colts (199th overall) back when Eberflus served as the Colts’ defensive coordinator in 2019. He spent parts of the 2019 and 2020 seasons on Indianapolis’ practice squad before heading to Washington for a brief stop with the Commanders. He landed in Las Vegas with the Raiders after that, where he played on their practice squad from 2020 until 2022.

Green, 27, has yet to appear in an NFL game during the regular season. He played his college ball at Mississippi State, amassing 161 total tackles (20.5 for loss), 8.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three interceptions and a defensive touchdown over his collegiate career.

Garrett, 24, was a seventh-round pick for the Los Angeles Rams (252nd overall) in 2021. He appeared in just one game for the Rams last year, not registering any stats, but he was a member of the team’s Super Bowl-winning squad, so he does have a ring. He was limited by a groin injury over training camp in 2022, and wound up being released as part of the team’s roster cuts.

A Milwaukee, Wisconsin native, the 6-foot-4, 245-pound Garrett attended Concordia–St. Paul, a Division II school. His 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Garrett made his mark over the 2017-2019 seasons, setting the NCAA Division II record for most forced fumbles (15) by a single player. In his 28 games with CSP, the outside linebacker finished with 166 total tackles (48.5 for loss), 36.5 sacks and nine passes defensed.

We’ll see if either one of them lands in the Windy City.

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