Draft picks and undrafted free agent rookies will soon join rosters across the NFL, but free agents who are currently out of work will find themselves at minicamps looking to make a good impression and stay awhile.
And to that end, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports cornerback Tharold Simon will join the Chicago Bears’ minicamp on a tryout basis.
Simon was a fifth-round pick (138th overall) by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2013 NFL Draft and spent three years with the team. He played 10 games (five starts) and came away with one interception in the team’s 2014 season, which ended in a narrow Super Bowl defeat against the New England Patriots (more on this season in a moment).
Seattle eventually waived Simon in September 2016, when he was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Cardinals. He played nine games for Arizona in 2016 and spent some time with Washington on a reserve/future contract in 2017 before being cut in May. If things go well during his tryout period, it’s possible Simon could angle for an extended look later this spring and summer.
But let’s go back a few years, because the 2014 season was a productive one for Simon, at least by Pro Football Focus’ standards. That season, he played 183 coverage snaps and allowed a QB Rating of 44.4, which was the second best in the league. Simon also averaged just 18.3 coverage snaps per reception, and 9.6 coverage snaps per target, which is a fancy way of saying opposing quarterbacks rarely threw in Simon’s direction.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a large sample to pull from when diving into Simon’s career stats. PFF has Simon playing on 381 career coverage snaps, in which he has yielded a 55.2 percent completion rate and a 54.2 QB Rating when targeted.
Biggs points out that Simon (listed at 6-3 and 202 pounds) has the ideal size that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio desires out of his cornerbacks. And Fangio probably had a good look at what Simon could do when he was with the San Francisco 49ers, who were playing the Seahawks twice a year.
Ultimately, the Bears have eight cornerbacks on their roster and could stand to add more in the draft. But since there are nine days until it kicks off, Simon is the type of player Chicago should be looking at to battle for future playing time.