After an excellent relief role against the Minnesota Vikings, questions about why Chicago Bears defensive back Thomas Graham Jr was not starting from Day One are warranted.
Monday Night Football was a disaster for the Chicago Bears. Yet, they may have found themselves a rising star in defensive back Thomas Graham Jr.
A sixth-round pick out of Oregon, Graham was not on the active roster by the end of the preseason and was elevated this week mainly due to a COVID-outbreak within the organization.
Despite the loss, Graham showcased the physicality and disciplined traits that made him a star in Eugene. He finished the game with seven tackles and three pass breakups. That’s pretty good for a first start, and given what Minnesota presents at the wide receiver position, not bad.
Though his draft status may have resulted from opting out of his final season, Graham was among college football’s better defenders, and Chicago picked him at the end of the sixth round. Now Graham has been signed to the roster, and all seems to be well.
But it’s not. As a matter of fact, what took place in front of a national audience begs questions. Why has he not been starting from day one? What was it that forced him to stay on the practice squad all this time? Why did it take a COVID outbreak to make this move? Besides Jaylon Johnson, who else was on the roster at cornerback that was better? Seriously. Who?
Thomas Graham Jr proved that the Chicago Bears continue struggling to manage and develop their talent.
The season is a wash right now at 4-10, and there’s nothing else to lose. Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace are currently on the hot seat. The best way to cool it is to play the best possible lineup, even if it means benching a favored veteran for an unproven yet highly talented rookie.
Additionally, with no first-round pick next season and Chicago having minimal draft capital, wouldn’t it be wise to see what you have instead of stashing them on the practice squad?
It may just be one game, but there was clear evidence that Graham should have been a starter from day one. He’s going to take his lumps, but he can’t learn from sitting on the bench. Good for him for getting onto the active roster and potentially expanding his role, but this move should have been done a long time ago.