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Bears' Gordon lauded by former college coach

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During a radio interview Monday, former University of Washington coach Jimmy Lake was effusive in his praise for Bears' second-round draft pick Kyler Gordon.

Lake called Gordon "the most athletic player that I've ever coached," which is quite a compliment given that there are eight cornerbacks and three safeties currently in the NFL who Gordon worked with at Washington.

"First of all, you are getting a terrific young man," Lake said on the Mully & Haugh Show on 670 The Score. "But on the field you guys are going to get an electric athlete. We've been able to churn out a bunch of DBs over the years. This is the most athletic player that I've ever coached."

An NFL defensive backs assistant with the Buccaneers and Lions from 2006-11, Lake was hired by Washington as defensive backs coach in 2014. He added co-defensive coordinator duties in 2016, became defensive coordinator in 2018 and was elevated to head coach in 2020.

Gordon is the seventh defensive back that Lake coached at Washington to be picked in the first two rounds of the draft. The others are Marcus Peters (first round by Chiefs in 2015), Sidney Jones (second round by Eagles in 2017), Budda Baker (second round by Cardinals in 2017), Byron Murphy (second round by Cardinals in 2019), Taylor Rapp (second round by Rams in 2019) and Trent McDuffie (first round by Chiefs in 2022). All remain in the league.

Gordon appeared in 33 games with 17 starts over four seasons with the Huskies, recording 98 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, two interceptions, 14 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

A full-time starter for the first time last year, he was named first-team all-Pac 12 after establishing career highs with 46 tackles and nine pass breakups while recording his first two interceptions.

"He is a ball of energy, a ball of clay that can bend any which different way," Lake said. "He's the type of guy who could just sit here and do a backflip right in front of you. He can contort his body to go defend passes, pick off passes. You are getting an extreme athlete that can play inside and outside. This is a big-time pick for Chicago."

While honing his skills and technique as a cornerback as a sophomore in 2019 and a junior in 2020, Gordon was named Washington's special teams player of the year in back-to-back seasons.

"You couldn't stop this guy," Lake said. "He would fly down the field, kickoff, punt team, make all the tackles. I'm telling you this is going to be a Swiss army knife for your team there. He's going to be able to do it all."

“This is the most athletic player that I’ve ever coached.” Former Washington coach Jimmy Lake on Kyler Gordon

The Bears were surprised that Gordon was still available at No. 39 in the second round. One reason may have been the 4.52 he clocked in the 40 at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, which was slower than many expected.

Lake thinks that time was a fluke and that Gordon possesses plenty of speed.

"It is not going to be an issue; mark my words on that," Lake said. "We had him well in the 4.4s, high 4.3s … I'm sure he just didn't get the start that he wanted and run at Indy exactly the way he wanted to run that run.

"But if you watch film, he's never run by. Speed's never been an issue. If we were lining up tomorrow and we were playing whoever and it was the fastest receiver, I'm putting Kyler Gordon on him, and I have full confidence he's not going to get run by and he's going to make a play on the football."

Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker, Velus Jones Jr., Braxton Jones, Dominique Robinson, Zachary Thomas, Trestan Ebner, Doug Kramer, Ja'Tyre Carter, Elijah Hicks and Trenton Gill. See photos of all the new Bears rookies selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.

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