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NFL Draft Breakdown: What stands out about new Chicago Bears cornerback Tyrique Stevenson

Nicholas Moreano Avatar
May 4, 2023

Tyrique Stevenson made an instant connection with Matt Eberflus on his 30 visit to Halas Hall.

The former Miami Hurricane and Bears coach discussed how football used to be played.

“Our interaction was nothing more than talking a bit old school football and the tradition of the Bears,” Stevenson said during his introductory Zoom press conference on Friday. “We talked more about life and how he wants to be more of a player-coach and how he wants to interact with the players in the building and how the players should be able to come into the building and feel like this is a safe haven so we can come out and give our all once we step on the field.”

According to Stevenson, one of the “only reasons” he was on the 30 visit was because he plays the game with the toughness and physicality that Eberflus and the rest of the coaching staff covet at the position.

The Bears traded up with the Jaguars on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft to select Stevenson with the No. 56 overall pick in the second round.

Stevenson finished his last season at Miami with 25 total tackles, seven passes defensed and two interceptions. According to Pro Football Focus, he played 554 defensive snaps in 11 games and had 295 coverage snaps — allowing 17 receptions on 40 targets for 353 yards and giving up three touchdowns.

The Bears added a boundary corner who should be in contention to start opposite of Jaylon Johnson at the beginning of the season.

Here is what Stevenson brings to the Bears’ defense.


As an outside corner, Stevenson plays with great patience and physicality. According to PFF, his highest-graded game last season was against Georgia Tech on the road in Week 11. Stevenson finished that game with one tackle, an interception and only allowed one reception (a TD) on five targets.

On this first-and-10 play, Stevenson is lined up in press coverage at the top of the screen. The 6-foot, 198-pound cornerback disrupts the wide receiver’s route with a good jam at the line of scrimmage. Stevenson then runs step for step with the receiver downfield, but recognizes the tight end leaking out late to his left. The Yellow Jackets end up calling a “Flea Flicker” and try to hit the tight end in between the numbers and the sideline, but Stevenson jumps the underthrown ball and gets himself an interception.

Stevenson could’ve had another interception in the first quarter. The Hurricanes’ defense had the Yellow Jackets in a third-and-12 from their own 32 yard line. The 22-year-old cornerback starts the play by directing his teammate to cover the unassigned man outside. (Stevenson did a good job communicating with his teammates all game.)

Stevenson then bumps down inside against the wide receiver. And the slot wide receiver gets a step on Stevenson, but he doesn’t panic and is able to recover. He also is looking back for the football, which is another trait that will translate well in the NFL. This puts Stevenson in a position to secure the interception, but the safety has a nice read on the throw and gets himself the pick. Unfortunately, he hits his own teammate in the process. Stevenson did play on the first snap of the next defensive series.

Stevenson is also not afraid or hesitant to make plays in the run game, which will be an asset in this Bears defense. Against Georgia Tech and North Carolina last season, Stevenson delivered some big hits.


Although Stevenson isn’t afraid to make a tackle, that doesn’t mean he was the most consistent with them. According to PFF, he finished with a 46.4 grade in tackling. Two of his worst-graded tackling games were against Georgia Tech (28.3) and North Carolina (46.9).

Here is one missed tackle from Stevenson in both games. In the first play, Stevenson is lined up at the top of the screen. He does a good job of recognizing that it’s a run play, but he takes a bad angle at the running back and misses the tackle.

Against the Tar Heels, quarterback Drake Maye made an incredible throw and Stevenson did put himself in a position to make a tackle in the middle of the field, but he couldn’t bring down now Colts wide receiver Josh Downs. Stevenson also got hit by his teammate on the play and did not return in the second half.

Also against North Carolina, Stevenson is beat on a deep post route in the middle of the field. At the top of the route, the wide receiver creates a good amount of separation and Stevenson cannot recover in time. A term that some people may use to describe this is “Route Squeeze,” which is essential to a player’s ability to squeeze the space between him and the opponent. On this particular play, Stevenson couldn’t make up enough ground to make a play on the ball and gives up a 44-yard reception.

Like every single drafted player, Stevenson isn’t perfect and has some areas of his game that he will need to work on as he learns the NFL game. But his physicality, instincts and good balance should put the second-round rookie in a position to start early in his rookie season.

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