Put it all in caps: Bears safety jobs 'wide open,' DC says


The Chicago Bears opted to draft first-round cornerback Kyle Fuller instead of plugging a hole at safety.

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General manager Phil Emery later grabbed Brock Vereen in the fourth round, who will join a group of middling safety options in the Windy City.

In advance of Friday's rookie minicamp, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, who was on the hot seat last year, said the starting safety jobs are for the taking, even by the rookie.

"Safety will be wide open. You can put that all in caps," Tucker told the team's official website. "Chris Conte and Craig Steltz are back, and Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings have both started in this league. And then we also have Danny McCray, who's a veteran as well."

The veteran group doesn't inspire confidence. For comparison, Mundy was the top-rated player of the group in 2013 as ranked by Pro Football Focus. The free-agent pickup came in at No. 37. Jennings ranked 67th while Conte ended up 82nd on the list. Ouch.

The Bears decided to focus on fortifying their front seven this offseason with a clear belief that pressure on the quarterback will cover for a shaky backend.

While the competition for safety might be wide open as offseason activities start, Tucker hopes "wide open" isn't how receivers end up in his secondary once the regular season commences.

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