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Bears set to debut new-look secondary

The following is the eighth of nine position previews in advance of training camp.

The Bears will sport a revamped secondary this summer in Bourbonnais after signing safety Quintin Demps and cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in free agency.

As the Bears prepare to head to Training Camp, take a look at the seventeen defensive backs currently on the 90-man roster.

Demps has played nine NFL seasons with the Eagles (2008-09), Texans (2011-12 and 2015-16), Chiefs (2013) and Giants (2014). A late bloomer, he didn't make his first NFL start until his sixth season in the league with Kansas City. Demps has recorded 15 of his 18 career interceptions the past four years, including six in 13 games last year.

"It's always good to have a veteran if he can play his position good," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said in May. "He had a nice year last year in Houston and hopefully he'll be able to do some of the same stuff for us this year. It's good to have a veteran if the guy's a commander and a leader back there and we'll find out if that's true."

Amukamara arrives after playing six seasons with the Giants (2011-15) and Jaguars (2016). He failed to record an interception last year for the first time in his career after registering seven in his first five seasons.

"This is his third team in three years, so he's been around," Fangio said. "I thought he played better last year than he had earlier in his career and hopefully he'll be able to continue that here and maybe play his best. He should be in his prime.

"He can run. He's got good speed; he always has. He's become a veteran player who understands football better than he did when he first came into the league, so we'll see."

Cooper has appeared in 53 NFL games with 24 starts over four seasons with the Chiefs (2013-15) and Cardinals (2016), compiling 130 tackles, seven interceptions and 32 pass breakups.

He switched from receiver to cornerback his final year at Rutgers and was still inexperienced at the position when the 49ers selected him in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. He showed potential while working with Fangio as his defensive coordinator in San Francisco but ultimately failed to make the 53-man roster.

"I don't remember a whole lot other than we liked him," Fangio said. "It came down to the last cut, either him or another rookie. The other guy was a better special-teams player, so we kept him. We were going to put Coop on our practice squad, but he got picked up by Kansas City.

"He's had some good days in the NFL since then. But this is his fourth team in five years, so hopefully he can settle in and this can be a home for him."

Cooper enjoyed a breakout season with the Cardinals last year, setting career highs with 15 games played, 13 starts, 69 tackles and four interceptions. He returned one of the picks for his first career touchdown and added a team-high 11 pass breakups.

"He got a lot of action," Fangio said. "[Six-time Pro Bowler Patrick] Peterson was playing the other side. [Cooper] had to play a lot out there because of injuries so he got a lot of playing time, a lot of balls his way. He broke up his fair share of them, got some picks, but he saw a lot of action so he's battle-tested. Obviously you're going to get beat some and make some plays, so hopefully he's ready for his career to take off a little bit."

The Bears also addressed their secondary in the draft, selecting Alabama safety Eddie Jackson in the fourth round.

Jackson, who is rebounding from a broken leg he sustained last year, appeared in 41 games with 37 starts over four seasons with the Crimson Tide, registering 130 tackles, nine interceptions, 13 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He also returned two of 11 punts for touchdowns last year as a senior.

"He's got good ball skills," Fangio said. "He's shown the ability to be a good pass defender in college. We'll see how he tackles in the NFL—that will be something that he's going to have to show that he can do because you've got to be able to tackle, all 11 guys. Hopefully he'll stay healthy, get healthy here and he's in the mix with those other guys."

The Bears hope the changes in the secondary help them produce more takeaways this season after they mustered an all-time franchise-low 11 last year.

Another newcomer is B.W. Webb, who has appeared in 49 NFL games with 10 starts in four seasons with the Cowboys (2013), Steelers (2014), Titans (2015) and Saints (2016), recording 61 tackles, two interceptions and 14 pass breakups.

Webb was selected by Dallas in the fourth round of the 2013 draft out of William & Mary. Last year he played in 14 games with the Saints, establishing career highs with eight starts, 27 tackles and 11 pass breakups while registering one interception.

Defensive backs returning to the Bears include Cre'von LeBlanc, Bryce Callahan, Adrian Amos, Kyle Fuller, Sherrick McManis, Harold Jones-Quartey, Deon Bush, Deiondre' Hall, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Chris Prosinski, Rasheed Reynolds and Johnthan Banks.

LeBlanc showed promise last year as a rookie after winning a starting job midway through the season, recording 46 tackles, two interceptions and 13 pass breakups. LeBlanc's top play came Dec. 11 in Detroit when he intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.

Amos started 14 games at safety, recording 60 tackles but failing to intercept a pass for the second time in as many years. At the other spot, Quartey ranked second on the Bears with 82 tackles but lost his starting job to Bush midway through the season.

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