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Training Camp Report

Vildor getting acclimated to life as NFL rookie

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Like every NFL rookie this year, Bears cornerback Kindle Vildor faces a steep learning curve.

Drafted in the fifth round out of Georgia Southern, Vildor has faced questions about how his athleticism will translate to the professional level due to playing in a lower level conference. Added to the mix were the unusual offseason schedule and a crowded cornerbacks room, which includes second-round pick Jaylon Johnson.

Vildor has responded by focusing on the things he can control: his technique and mastery of the playbook.

"It's been crazy not having rookie minicamp and OTAs and different things like that," said Vildor. "But the main thing that I've been harping on is just learning the playbook, so I feel like if I learn the playbook, learn everything mentally, it'll help also speed up my play on the field and [I won't] have to think about everything I'm doing while making plays."

Vildor recorded nine interceptions in his college career, including one against eventual national champion Clemson in 2018. However, his role in the NFL is likely to be a bit different than it was at Georgia Southern.

Vildor mostly played outside in college but has been learning nickel back to increase his value. A fair amount of his offseason effort has been aimed at improving his versatility.

"On the outside, it's different than playing the inside," said Vildor, "because on the inside, you have more space and different things like that. Just learning my techniques, knowing where my leverage's at and constantly watching film."

Last month, secondary coach Deshea Townsend dubbed Vildor "a Bear guy" and praised his study habits.

"I'm excited to see him get out there and get a chance to compete," said Townsend, "because he is a true competitor — the way that he asks questions in meetings, the things that he wants to know; it just shows that he's a competitor. So I'm excited to see him get a chance to get out there and play."

Vildor has taken guidance from veteran cornerback Buster Skrine. Like Vildor, Skrine grew up in Georgia, played at a small school, and was drafted in the fifth round.

"He was actually saying coming into his rookie year, they had a lockout," said Vildor, "so it's kind of similar and everything like that. So I've been leaning towards him a lot, just talking it up with him, asking him different questions and everything like that, and he's been a big help for me."

Vildor has also been impressed by fellow rookie Johnson, who he feels has pushed him to greater heights.

"He's an outstanding player," said Vildor. "Just me and him coming in together, I'm taking some things that he have and putting it in my game."

Despite—or, perhaps, because of—the unusual beginning to his professional career, Vildor doesn't feel that his life is much different than it was a year ago.

"I feel like it's been regular for me," said Vildor, "even with the restrictions and everything going on. When I'm not doing anything football-related, I'm just chilling by myself. You know what I'm saying, just playing a game or anything like that, watching TV, kicking it. So it's been kind of pretty much the same for me."

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