The Chicago Bears‘ biggest concern entering training camp last week was finding a pair of safeties who can produce for them this season. Free agent signee Ryan Mundy has been the best of the bunch so far and has, for the time being, locked up the free safety position. Rookie Brock Vereen was thought to be leading the battle at strong safety, but with his inexperience and incumbent Chris Conte still out with an injury, a sleeper has jumped to the front of the pack: former Dallas Cowboy Danny McCray.
McCray was signed as a special teams ace. He played under current Bears’ special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis in Dallas and shined as a fearless gunner on kickoff and punt coverage. He was acquired to play that same role in Chicago, but was told that the safety position battle was wide open and he would be able to test his hand in it. He has been bumped up and has practiced with Mundy and the ones the past few days.
The LSU product fits in well with the Bears’ defensive style. As a vital special teams contributor the last four years in Dallas, he tallied 74 special teams tackles. McCray’s only NFL experience on defense occurred in 2012, when he started ten games for Dallas while recording 87 tackles and one interception.
McCray is a big guy at 6-foot-1 and 221 pounds. He is a lionhearted player who seems to always have a chip on his shoulder, and even though the Bears have already added toughness to their defense, you can never have enough. McCray brings that nastiness that you want out of a strong safety, and I would love it if he won the position this season. I think Vereen will eventually be a stud, but his lack of experience worries me. McCray knows the speed of the NFL game, and that is a trait that cannot be undervalued. He has made a few plays in camp scrimmages that have shown his speed and instinct are elite.
Of course, it is still early in training camp and a preseason game has yet to be played, but from what come out of Bourbounnais, McCray is a real possibility at strong safety. I think most Bears fans would agree with me when I say that he literally cannot be worse than Conte was last year, and his grit would be welcomed with open arms.