Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon, an Archbishop Murphy alum, points after being selected by the Bears during the second round of the NFL draft on Friday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon, an Archbishop Murphy alum, points after being selected by the Bears during the second round of the NFL draft on Friday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Murphy alum Gordon selected by Bears in Round 2 of NFL draft

The former standout at Washington goes to Chicago with the 39th overall pick.

By Mike Vorel / The Seattle Times

It’s only fitting that Mr. Spotlight was invited to Las Vegas.

Kyler Gordon was walking at nine months old. He was attempting somersaults and cartwheels before his first birthday. He picked up kung fu at age 4 and dance a year later. At 8, he was named “Mr. Spotlight” at the Spotlight Dance Cup national finals in California.

At 9, he found football.

More than a decade later, Gordon — a fourth-year UW defensive back from Archbishop Murphy High School — was selected by the Chicago Bears with the No. 39 overall pick in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft Friday night.

“This is a good young cornerback right here,” ESPN analyst Louis Riddick said after the pick was made. “If you look at (Bears coach) Matt Eberflus and what kind of team he ran when he was in Indianapolis as the defensive coordinator, and who he’s going to bring to Chicago, he needs a hard-nosed, tough, disciplined corner like Kyler Gordon — who played a lot of cover-2, a lot of cover-3 at Washington, played a lot with his hips open. Really good route recognition. Really good finishing skills.”

Riddick added: “He will put his hat on the football, force it out. He’s just a tough, Matt Eberflus type of football player that they need to pair with (former Utah corner) Jaylon Johnson to get things going in the secondary in Chicago.”

Gordon was the second Husky corner off the board this week, trailing Trent McDuffie — who went to Kansas City with the No. 21 overall pick. He was one of 21 prospects who attended the draft in Las Vegas, and one of four — along with Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean — who had to wait an extra night to hear his name.

That wait was prompted by an uncharacteristically slow 4.52-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February.

But both Gordon and the Bears saw a bigger picture.

“Honestly, with the 40 a lot of it is that start in the very beginning, how quick you get out,” Gordon said after being selected. “In football you’re honestly moving all the time, so I’m not really worried about the speed. You see it on the tape and the field. I’m going to get there, for sure. Honestly, I’m not too worried about what I ran. I’ve ran faster than that before.”

Athletically, he’s done just about everything.

“Before he was a year old, his grandma and grandpa were like, ‘Uh, there’s something special about this little boy. He’s going to be something,’” Kyler’s mother, Evamarie Gordon, told The Times in 2019.

“It’s really weird. I know it sounds kind of stupid, but I had a vision as well. I just knew in my heart that there was something about him.”

The Bears know that now.

Husky fans already did.

In four seasons and 33 career games in Seattle, the 6-foot, 200-pound torpedo compiled 98 tackles with 14 passes defended, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Gordon emerged in his first full season as a starter in 2021 — earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors while producing 46 tackles, seven pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 12 games. He recorded a 39.5-inch vertical jump at UW’s pro day.

“I know he ran in the low 4.5s, but he plays so much faster than that and can really find and play the ball,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of Gordon last week.

In a scouting report on NFL.com, analyst Lance Zierlein described the Mukilteo native as a “cornerback who comes with an elite, high-performance engine but a GPS still in the process of loading. Gordon’s dynamic athletic qualities will show up in testing, but more importantly, they are all over his tape. His blend of play strength and explosive burst affects the passing game from press, off-man and zone coverages. He plays with an alpha demeanor and hitting is definitely part of his overall package.

“Gordon lacks polish and needs to play with better route recognition and anticipation, but if those elements click, his ball production could be near the top of the league as one of the top playmakers in the game.”

The Bears are obviously betting on that potential production.

But, especially with back-to-back Seahawks picks on deck, Gordon wasn’t betting he’d be picked by the Bears.

“I was a little surprised,” he said. “But honestly when I got the call and I heard ‘Chicago,’ I’m thinking of all the people I met on the visit, knowing the good people that are there. I’m just thankful to be in a good environment, and the relationships I’m about to build with people are going to be amazing.”

When asked which NFL wide receiver he’s most excited to guard, Gordon smiled and added: “Honestly, I just want to go down the whole entire list of all the great wide receivers there are. There’s not one in particular, but I’m just ready to go down the line.”

Kyler Gordon has always been plenty athletic.

But in Chicago, can Mr. Spotlight steal the show?

“I’m definitely going to bring a lot of energy,” Gordon said, with a black Bears hat collapsing his curls. “I want (fans) to know that when I come to Soldier Field, I just want it to be live and poppin’. I want to interact with y’all. I want it to get turnt. So I just want them to know that I’m bringing the energy, and I want them to match it.”

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