A closer look at AJ Greathouse

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What can we learn about the new cornerback?

Hudl highlights found here

Although the Bears still sport mostly smaller -- read: sub 6'0 -- cornerbacks on the roster, the coaching staff has managed to put together a couple of additions in the last year that have moved the measurement in the right direction: first with JUCO transfer Darius White, and now AJ Greathouse, who checks in at 6'1, 180. Those are good, promising numbers, if they hold up, numbers that will help at least close the height advantage that opposing offenses tend to have.

We'll begin with the video entitled "spring highlights", which is probably the most recent footage of him.

With there being largely expected and formulaic comments about tackling and what not, I'd instead like to highlight one skill that I'm seeing Greathouse display a lot in the film above -- his ability to transition to "become the receiver". There's an old joke that says that defensive backs only play where they do because they can't catch, and whether or not that's true, this is: the ones that can really comfortably position themselves to spot, and then go get the football give the defense a really great advantage. The very first clip on this reel shows Greathouse doing exactly that. Sure, the pass is horribly, horribly overthrown to where only he can nab it, but he looks quite comfortable tracking it over his head, like any wideout would. A similar, and perhaps more telling example comes at :29, when he forces the receiver to take an outside release, then intercepts the lob deeper down the field. [The later tape discussed below has more similar plays.]

Another nice thing about Greathouse is his 4.5 40 time, with at least one spring highlight play where he looks damn close to the part -- at 1:04, he and the receiver both go one on one for a go route, but he turns and beats the receiver to the throw. Generally speaking, he keeps pace with anyone he's matched up with so far. If that time's legitimate, he should be able to do the same at the next level, especially in recover/trail situations, which our defensive backs found themselves far too familiar with last season.

You'll also see a few clips of Greathouse jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage [:42], which I think is a skill still in progress for him. This part, and his skill in changing directions, I'm a little more unsure about making any concrete declarations about, because it comes largely in drill work, and not actual gametape.

With only two minutes of footage from spring, I decided to dig a little deeper to check his senior season reel, and I was pleased to find that these observations generally hold true of him as a player from years past, too. You don't really need to watch this longer film because it isn't particularly eyepopping, but you may want to check out the nifty backhanded interception at 1:46, which is the kind of play you expect you receiver to make, not your corner. I mean, he's making picks when he's sprawled out on the sideline and can't see the pass behind him.

In any case, the defensive backfield still isn't settled yet, and any additional competition for those precious few spots can only be a good thing; at least, in theory. He may not yet live up to his name, but there's at least a solid foundation to build upon for Coach Burns.

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