The Chicago Bears desperately need to improve their secondary, and in an attempt to do so, the team worked out three defensive backs, per the NFL’s waiver wire.
After their 34-14 Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago’s secondary — or lack of it — was exposed in a big way by Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford. Veteran safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson made one of the more careless errors in recent memory when they let Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson get up and run into the end zone after this play:
But that was just the tip of a very long iceberg. Starting nickel corner Marqui Christian was burned badly by wideout Cooper Kupp for another TD — Kupp had 11.3 yards of separation between himself and the nearest Bears defender, per Next Gen Stats — and missed tackles/assignments were a problem all game. The Bears would have benefitted from a better pass rush, to be sure, but regardless, blown coverages like the one below cannot happen in the NFL:
Thus, the Bears brought in DBs D.J. Hayden, Lafayette Pitts and Kevon Seymour for try outs heading into Week 2.
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D.J. Hayden: Stats & Injury History
Hayden is the most well-known of the three DBs worked out by Chicago. The Las Vegas Raiders took Hayden in the first round (12th overall) in 2013, and he played in eight games his rookie year, starting two. Surgery for a sports hernia cut his rookie campaign short.
A foot injury landed him on the physically-unable-to-perform list for the first six games of the 2014 season. He played in 10 games, starting eight, and finished the season with 47 total tackles (one for loss, 42 solo), ten pass deflections, and an interception. He played in all 16 games the following year, and he accumulated 70 total tackles (64 solo, three for loss), eight PDs, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception.
The injury bug bit again in 2016, when he was placed on IR with a hamstring injury toward the end of the season. He wasn’t re-signed by the Raiders, and he landed in Detroit with the Lions for one year, where he played the second 16-game season of his career. He finished the 2017 season in Detroit with 44 tackles (36 solo, one for loss), 9 PD’s, two fumble recoveries and half a sack.
The 31-year-old Hayden spent his last three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, playing in 30 games and starting 15. His 2020 season was shortened by another hamstring injury, though.
Over his eight-year career, he has played in 91 games and started 41, racking up 328 total tackles, four INTs, 46 PDs, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 4.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and a defensive score — which occurred in 2017 against the Bears courtesy of a Mitch Trubisky fumble.
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Pitts & Seymour Have Less Experience Combined Than Hayden
Pitts signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2016, and he spent the year on the practice squad, getting promoted to the active roster for eight games before getting released just before the 2017 season. He had a cup of coffee with the Jags in 2017 before landing in Buffalo, where he finished out the year with the Bills. He stayed on in Buffalo in 2018, playing in 16 all games that year. He bounced around a bit after that, eventually landing on the Bills’ practice squad in 2020.
Pitts has played in 30 games, accumulating 21 total tackles.
Seymour was drafted by the Bills in the sixth-round (218th overall) in 2016. He played in 15 games as a rookie, starting three. He was traded to the Carolina Panthers the following year, and he played in all 16 games during his 2017 campaign, starting two. He spent the 2018 season on IR, and was released by Carolina the following year. He didn’t play in 2019, but was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles last year. He spent some time on Philly’s practice squad before getting elevated to the active roster for two games.
Over his three seasons in the league, the 27-year-old Seymour has 52 tackles (44 solo), seven PDs and a QB hit.
We’ll see if Chicago adds one of them.