Five weeks before the start of training camp, the Bears on Thursday inked their final unsigned draft pick, cornerback Duke Shelley, to a four-year contract.
Shelley was selected in the sixth round (205th overall) out of Kansas State, where he appeared in 38 games with 37 starts over four seasons. He recorded 165 tackles, eight interceptions—returning two for touchdowns—one sack and seven tackles-for-loss.
Shelley started all 12 games he played as a junior in 2017, ranking fourth in the Big 12 with 13 pass breakups while earning honorable mention all-conference recognition. He opened the first seven games last year before sustaining a season-ending toe injury.
After the draft, general manager Ryan Pace described the 5-9, 180-pounder as “a guy I feel like we’ve been talking about for a long time. [He’s] a little bit undersized but extremely athletic. Really twitchy. Good ball skills.”
Pace told reporters that Shelley’s competitiveness jumps off the tape and that he projects as a nickel back in the NFL.
Shelley made a positive first impression, displaying his quickness at the Bears rookie minicamp in May.
“He’s quick-twitch,” coach Matt Nagy said at the time. “He was out here doing some special-teams drills early on and you could just really feel the energy and how quick he is making his moves and then doing some DB drills flipping his hips real quick, turning over and then actually finishing with the catch.”
Shelley continued to impress throughout the offseason program and will continue to compete with Buster Skrine for the top nickel position in training camp.