This is CHGO’s Chicago Bears 2022 player preview series. Learn more about each player and what to expect from them this year.
Entering his fourth season, Duke Shelley has six starts and 30 games under his belt as the Chicago Bears’ slot cornerback.
Duke Shelley’s 2021 Stats
Advanced Stat to Know: Allowed team-highs in REC% (76.1) and YAC (300) last season.
Best Game of 2021
Shelley’s best outing came Week 16 in the snowy Seattle game. He was targeted three times but allowed a season-low one catch for nine yards.
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Does Shelley have a shot at earning the nickel corner position?
That seems like a tall task for Shelley at this point. He’s had a history of injuries, and when he’s seen action, the results have been lackluster.
The Bears have brought in a fair amount of competition. They signed Tavon Young in free agency. Chicago also drafted Elijah Hicks in the sixth round to compete for the job.
Shelley struggled last season in coverage. He also missed over 12 percent of his tackle attempts. Slot corners need to be consistent tacklers, and Shelley has plenty of room to grow in that department.
Shelley’s competition at nickel is much stiffer than it was a year ago. He has an uphill battle to become the starter. Everyone has a clean slate with the new coaching staff, including Shelley, which gives him a fair shot.
Time will tell if his quickness and instincts translate well to the Bears’ defense. If he fails to pick up the new scheme quickly compared to his competition, Shelley’s time in Chicago may be running out.
Prediction: Doesn’t make final 53-man roster.
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