Few things can light a fire under a football player more than going undrafted, and that seems to have happened for Chicago Bears rookie Taveze Calhoun.
One can understand. He played well for Mississippi State in college, starting for three years and never looking like he didn’t belong. The defense looked to him as a leader and he carried himself that way. He’s big, strong, tough and physical with a knack for tackling. Yet because he didn’t have the best time in the 40-yard dash, a 4.58, teams didn’t think his entire body of work was worth noting. That is often how players go undrafted and to say Calhoun was disappointed would be an understatement.
Seems he’s decided to take out those frustrations on the practice field, taking advantage of every opportunity he gets and making a significant number of impact plays that are slowly piling up. Jeremy Stoltz of Bear Report first caught wind of the buzz early in OTA practices.
"“CB Taveze Calhoun, a UDFA out of Mississippi State, had a quality PBU against RB Senorise Perry on a flat route. Two plays later, Calhoun was in man coverage against Bellamy, who ran a hitch-and-go. Calhoun bit on the first move and was burned badly deep down the field. Calhoun has some potential but getting beat on a double move is a bad play to put on film for the coaching staff.On the next play, WR Daniel Braverman caught a bubble screen and Calhoun crushed him, dropping the rookie to the turf. These are non-contact practices, yet Calhoun clearly took out his frustrations on the diminutive Braverman.”"
Clearly the young man plays with urgency and a chip on his shoulder. Competitive as well from the look of it. That manifested again in the teams’ most recent mandatory minicamp.
"“CB Taveze Calhoun had arguably the best performance of the day. On one of the early snaps in team drills, he had a solid PBU against WR Kieren Duncan. Calhoun broke hard on an underneath in route, reached around the receiver and knocked the pass away.Later, Calhoun anticipated a bubble screen, broke forward into the passing lane and intercepted the pass. He then went untouched to the end zone for a pick-six. This elicited a loud round of cheers from his defensive teammates and coaches. Calhoun is an undrafted free agent who is buried on the depth chart but plays like these will surely catch the eye of the coaching staff.”"
Keep in mind the Bears defense was painfully light on takeaways in 2015. As a unit they managed just 17, ranking them 28th in the league. That isn’t going to cut it if they want to make the playoffs and compete for Super Bowls. Calhoun grabbed six interceptions and forced two fumbles his final three years at Mississippi State. He’s aggressive, smart and doesn’t back down from anybody. The confidence he carries in himself is hard to miss, and that is the makeup of a good NFL defensive back.
With the cornerback position anything but certain beyond Kyle Fuller and Tracy Porter going into this season, Calhoun is almost guaranteed a roster spot if he continues to make plays like that.