Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles says he wants to build through the draft.
What GM doesn’t?
The road to the 2022 NFL Draft began at the Senior Bowl. But the speeds pick up at the start of March with the NFL Scouting Combine. The annual event, which is set to take place from March 1-7 in Indianapolis, features a combination of physical tests, mental examinations and assessments, and numerous interviews and meetings. And when it comes to the Bears — and the NFL’s other 31 teams — there is much to comb through.
With that in mind, here is a look at the 324 invitees to this year’s event:
— NFL Draft (@NFLDraft) February 9, 2022
There are 324 prospects who are going to the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. Three hundred. Twenty four. That is a whole bunch of talent about to test their skills in front of the clamoring eyes of league talent evaluators. Some of these prospects will even be chosen by the Chicago Bears with one of their five picks in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Here is the all-important positional breakdown:
• OFFENSE: Quarterbacks (15), Running backs (36), Wide receivers (40), Tight ends (21), Offensive linemen (58)
• DEFENSE: Defensive linemen (48), Linebackers (36), Defensive backs (61),
• SPECIALISTS: Kickers (3), Punters (5), Long snappers (1)
Think of the Bears needs. Then look at the numbers above. It is very easy for your mind to go to a place where you can envision Chicago’s football team filling some gaps with some standout players from this group.
Need some blockers in the trenches? There are a whopping 58 linemen who will be available for conversations. One of the Bears fits here could be Zion Johnson, who was making a name for himself at last Saturday’s Senior Bowl. In search of pass-catchers? The 40 receivers in attendance represents the highest number of an offensive skill position group. Among them is David Bell, the Purdue receiver who has been connected to the Bears early on the mock draft circuit. Want to bolster the secondary? Sort through the 61 cornerbacks and safeties who will be in attendance.
Heck, there are even five punters. Not that I want the Bears punting at any point this upcoming season. But just in case, it might be worth it to check in with the specialists. Blake Hayes (Illinois) and Matt Araiza (San Diego State) had our attention last fall:
I’ve got my first ever favorite punter prospect. pic.twitter.com/UfK1LnWqNa
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) November 6, 2021
— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) November 6, 2021
PUNT GOD MATT ARAIZA with a 79-yard punt. From the 12-yard line to the 1 on the fly. Cameraman clearly wasn't expecting it to go that far.
It's his 15th 60-yard punt of the season, which breaks the all-time record (and SDSU still has 4+ games to go) pic.twitter.com/5fojhHniA7
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) November 7, 2021
In short, if Poles is to stay true to himself and build through the draft, knocking it out of the park with a good Combine week is a great place to start.