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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Alyssa Barbieri

Bears 2022 safeties review: Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker were perfect 1-2 punch

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The Chicago Bears wrapped the 2022 season with a 3-14 record, which culminated in a 10-game losing streak. But there’s still reasons to be optimistic about the future, including a boatload of salary cap space, the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft and the emergence of quarterback Justin Fields.

Here at Bears Wire, we’re going position by position through the 2022 Bears and grading every player. Wrapping up the defense is safety, where Eddie Jackson and rookie Jaquan Brisker were quite the 1-2 punch who bolstered the defensive backfield.

Eddie Jackson: A

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Jackson had a bounce back year in 2022, where he established himself as a defensive leader following the departures of Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn. After not notching an interception in the previous two seasons, Jackson led the Bears with four picks — and that was in just 12 games, as he missed the final five after suffering a season-ending foot injury. Jackson added 80 total tackles, including one for a loss, six pass breakups and led the team with two forced fumbles. With rookie Jaquan Brisker in the box, Jackson thrived in his return to free safety, which made him one of the NFL’s best playmaking safeties in the first two years of his career.

Jaquan Brisker: B+

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Brisker established himself as Ryan Poles’ best draft pick, where he showed his potential as a cornerstone member of this defense moving forward. Brisker led the team with four sacks and had the second-most tackles (104). He added five tackles for loss, one interception, two pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. While a concussion knocked him out two games, Brisker played nearly every snap on defense. Aside from his individual production, Brisker’s comfort in the box allowed his running mate Jackson to thrive in his natural free safety role.

DeAndre Houston-Carson: B

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Houston-Carson has been one of the longest-tenured veterans on the team, and there’s a reason Poles brought him back on a one-year deal. Not only is Houston-Carson a leader on special teams, but he’s a key reserve at safety. After Jackson went down for the year in Week 11, Houston-Carson started the final six games of the season opposite Brisker. He totaled 45 tackles, including two for a loss, one interception, one pass deflection and one forced fumble for the season. With Houston-Carson set to hit the free agent market, the expectation is Poles will bring back a key contributor on defense and special teams.

Elijah Hicks: B-

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Hicks, a seventh-round draft pick out of California, served mostly in a reserve role on defense and was a special teams contributor during his rookie season. Hicks did get two starts on the year, including in the season finale against the Vikings, where he had his best outing with 11 total tackles and a forced fumble — and that was before he suffered a concussion. Considering Hicks was a seventh-round pick, the Bears got good value, and he’ll be a key reserve and special teams contributor moving forward.


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Thomas, an undrafted rookie out of Western Michigan, appeared in five games in limited fashion, primarily on special teams. But he saw some action during to injuries in the secondary, where he totaled four tackles. Still, it’s hard to evaluate Thomas given he spent most of the year on the practice squad and saw the field sparingly.

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