By: Jay Patel
Lacking defensive depth, the Bears made a low-risk, high-reward signing in former 1st round pick Artie Burns to a one-year, prove-it deal. This move does not hurt the Bears cap space, so it was worth taking a shot on the young kid.
Burns, a 24-year cornerback, was a first-round pick of the Steelers (25th overall) in the 2016 NFL draft. He comes from the University of Miami, where he was teammates with recently re-signed S Deon Bush. As a rookie, Burns started nine games for Pittsburgh, totaling 52 tackles and three interceptions. He improved his second season, starting all 16 games. It was a downhill, inconsistent road from there.
In his third season, defenses started to signal Burns out, and he struggled in coverage. Burns lost his confidence, and slid down the depth charts for two seasons until he started to become healthy scratches. In his final season with the Steelers, Burns finished with just eight tackles. For his Steelers career, he had 149 combined tackles, 27 passes defended, and four interceptions (all four came in his first two seasons).
Now, Burns (turns 25 in May) will get a chance to restart his career for a Bears team looking for Prince Amukamara’s replacement. Burns won’t be handed a job, he’ll have to compete with Tre Roberson (signed from CFL) and Kevin Toliver.
The Bears have a lot of interesting options for the CB2 position, and Burns, once a promising cornerback, and will get a chance to make an impact for the Monsters of the Midway.