One name to keep an eye on when the Chicago Bears return to Halas Hall for training camp later this month is second-year cornerback Kindle Vildor. A fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Vildor started one game in 2020 but totaled 17 tackles and one pass breakup. Entering year two, Chicago has a major hole at CB meaning Vildor has a prime opportunity in front of him.
2020 second-round pick Jaylon Johnson is the only CB on the roster who’s guaranteed a starting spot. Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai did have strong praise for Vildor throughout OTA’s and minicamp, further adding to the intrigue that Vildor could possibly emerge as a surprise starter.
â€œKindle showed that he belongs in this league, last year and the reps that he took last year,â€ Desai said via the Bears official YouTube channel. â€œSo I think heâ€™s going to have a chance to compete at various positions. Weâ€™re going to have a lot of competition at the nickel as well. Weâ€™ve had guys that have played there in games.â€
A breakout season for Vildor in year two means that Chicago would have two young CBs locked up through 2024 but also head into the 2022 offseason with no significant need at the position, especially since Chicago doesn’t have a first or fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Despite allowing a completion percentage of 70.6 percent as a rookie, Vildor excelled as an open-field tackler, a stat that is best referenced by looking at his missed tackle rate of zero percent in 2020. Heading into 2021, open-field tackling is an area that should continue to be a strength of Vildor’s but he must also showcase the ability to be solid in coverage, shutting down opposing wide receivers.
Last season showcased why Vildor may be the next hidden gem that Bears general manager Ryan Pace drafted on day three. Despite seeing some ups and downs, heading into training camp, continue to keep an eye on Vildor as a player who could emerge very quickly.