NFL Combine: Playing for the Bears would be a 'dream' for Minnesota S Tyler Nubin, here's why he's a good fit

The list of teams that have interviewed Tyler Nubin at the NFL Combine is a little too long for Nubin to list off. The St. Charles, Illinois, native, is a popular man.

"I've had probably like 15 interviews," Nubin said.

But one stuck out as a "dream" for him. That would be his hometown Chicago Bears.

Nubin said he likes what the Bears are doing on defense. The good things head coach Matt Eberflus has done with the defense in the second half of the 2023 season and going into the 2024 season has not gone unnoticed by players at the combine. 

Alabama's Dallas Turner lauded the Bears for the same thing.

"The defense is based around the pass rush," Turner said. "Being a pass rusher on that team you get a lot of freedom and opportunities."

But, Nubin is a safety. His primary job won't be to rush the passer. That doesn't diminish the dream.

Nubin called himself a "Chicago kid" Thursday. The Bears have a need for that kind of player, both that carries the general passion of playing for the Bears but also the kind of safety that Nubin is.

There are plenty of great safeties that Nubin tries to emulate. There are two players that come to mind for him: Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and Buccaneers safety, as well as former Minnesota Golden Gopher, Antoine Winfield Jr. 

"Minkah's probably one of the first names I bring up, probably after Antione Winfield Jr.," Nubin said. "There's a lot of really great safety play going on in the league right now."

Those are plenty talented acts to try and follow. They still have to line up with the boxes the Bears need to check off. 

On Tuesday, Eberflus described what he's looking for in a safety that will fill Eddie Jackson's shoes after the team released him earlier in February. Jackson had been the Bears' primary ball-hawk safety since the 2017 season.

The simple answer is a play maker. Ebeflus said Tuesday you can never have enough high-talent pass rushers or defensive backs. In taking a meeting with Nubin, the Bears have at least identified 

"The guy that you're looking for, he's got to have athletic ability, he's gotta have range, he's got to have great communication skills," Eberflus said Tuesday. "He's got to have ball skills. We want all of our guys to have the ability to take the ball away."

Nubin does a good job checking Eberflus' boxes. 

During his final year at Minnesota in 2023, he intercepted five passes, deflected nine passes, forced a fumble and 53 total tackles. The five interceptions were the most in a season in his career. He had three interceptions in 2021 and four in 2022. He earned plenty of accolades, highlighted All-American honors by Walter Camp, the Football Writers Association of American and the Associated Press.

Nubin said he sees himself as an all-around type of safety. He can play anywhere on the field.

"That's how I think I can play," Nubin said. "I think I can play in the back end, I think I can play up close to the box and go and make tackles, I think I'm a really good blitzer."

That style of play earned Minnesota's first All-American honors since Winfield Jr., a safety he is trying to emulate, in 2019. The Bears have Jaquan Brisker under his rookie contract and second-year pro Elijah Hicks at safety. At the very least, Eberflus might want to add one through the draft.

Nubin might be a difficult player to try and select. He's billed as a consensus Day 2 selection in the second or third rounds, and the Bears lack a second-round selection after trading for Montez Sweat.

However, if Nubin fits what the Bears need in the secondary, GM Ryan Poles has shown he isn't afraid to trade up and get the player he wants. Poles did that with Tyrique Stevenson last year.

For a player like Nubin, that might be worth the price.

"I'm not a one-dimensional safety," Nubin said. "I can do it all."


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