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Chicago Bears 2022 player preview: Duke Shelley

Will DeWitt Avatar
June 1, 2022

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

GameGame Def Def TackTackTack
Year G GS Int PD Comb Solo Ast

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.

Biggest Question

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.

2022 Outlook

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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