Meet the Free Agent: Buster Skrine
While Buster Skrine may not exactly be an upgrade over Bryce Callahan, he’s a reliable second option.
This past offseason the Chicago Bears elected to let star slot cornerback Bryce Callahan walk in exchange for the New York Jets former Slot cornerback Buster Skrine. At 5’9 185lbs, Buster Skrine has your prototypical nickelback size. With 4.3 speed to match, Skrine is an ideal replacement for Callahan. Skrine has elite range for a nickelback in addition to his ability to come up and bang with the best of them. For his size, Skrine packs a punch every time he gets to the ball carrier.
Skrine has finished both of the last two seasons with over 50 solo tackles. He just seems to have a knack for being around the football. Skrine is scrappy at the line, making it difficult for receivers to create separation in order to get open. Do I believe Skrine is an upgrade over Callahan? Not so much, but I have seen enough Buster Skrine over the years to know that he is capable of doing what the Bears need of him in order to replace the productivity that Callahan has seen over the last few seasons with the team. I do also believe that surrounding Skrine with the likes of Kyle Fuller, Eddie Jackson, Prince Amukamara and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will only increase his productivity and help him out with a career season over here in Chicago.
Skrine’s biggest strength would definitely have to be his tackling, as he is hard to get away from after first contact. On film, he stands out because of his ability to break up routes with blanket man coverage to the tune of 77 passes defended over the course of his eight-year career. In addition, Skrine is strong enough to come up and attack running backs in the backfield and quick enough off the nickel blitz to get to the quarterback. The Bears sent Callahan on the nickel blitz often last season, and Skrine won’t miss a beat in that same role. While doing both of these things, Skrine has also shown great ability in stopping the screen pass with his elite speed and reaction time. Although he did not record an interception last season, I believe he has the skillset and the pieces around him to have a career year in Chicago this season. Skrine, despite his size, is also good at defending the 9 route and can be seen giving wideouts those same problems 50 yards downfield the field on a 50-50 ball. With an AAV of $5.5 million, Skrine is, like I previously stated, not an upgrade but a damn close second after not being able to secure Callahan. Expect big things from Skrine this season and welcome to Chicago, Buster!
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