With their fifth and final selection in the NFL Draft, the Bears on Saturday chose Valdosta State cornerback Stephen Denmark with the No. 238 pick in the seventh round.
Denmark played receiver his first three seasons at Valdosta State before switching to cornerback last year as a senior, when he helped the Blazers win the Division II national championship by recording 55 tackles, three interceptions and 12 pass breakups.
The 6-3, 220-pounder possesses excellent size, speed and jumping ability.
“Stephen Denmark has ridiculous measurables,” said general manager Ryan Pace. “He’s relatively new to the position—only one year at corner after switching from receiver—so [he’s] a guy we feel has tremendous upside ahead of him and a guy that our defensive coaches, our special-teams coaches and our scouts were equally excited about, just working with that upside and the talent that he has.”
The Bears sent secondary coach Deshea Townsend and assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly to work out Denmark at Valdosta State prior to the draft.
“We can test him in things we want to see,” Pace said. “How does he flip his hips? How does he transition? And then on tape, for a guy that just switched to that position, his ability to track the ball. He has ball production, interception production.
“His ability to stay calm on a deep ball and get his head around with poise and track the ball is very intriguing. So this late in the draft, it’s just a very interesting, intriguing prospect for us to take. I can tell you this: When we go to the rookie minicamp, he’s going to be one of the guys I’m going to be most interested in watching, just because of the traits that he possesses.”