In 70 days from now, the 2022 NFL Draft will be wrapping up. The Bears won’t have any first-round picks to dissect, but they project to have three Day 3 selections, including a pair in Round 5. That should give us plenty to talk about on the draft’s final day. Here’s the latest as we lead up to draft weekend.
McShay’s Mock Leaves Studs on the Board for Bears
ESPN’s Todd McShay comes through with his first post-Super Bowl mock draft. And while it doesn’t go beyond Day 1, that it includes four first-round quarterbacks bodes well for the Bears.
Let’s keep it simple. The more quarterbacks who go off the board before Chicago goes on the clock with the 39th pick, the more skill position players who will be available when it is the Bears’ turn to pick. It’s too early to make strong predictions. But if you need something to root for on draft day, pull for as many quarterbacks to go early as possible. If only because it will make it more likely that Chicago can come away with a draft weekend steal, netting a possible first-round caliber talent in Round 2.
For instance, Tankathon’s most recent mock draft has the Bears selecting Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon going with the 39th pick. Gordon is the type of player I have in mind as someone who could slip to Round 2 despite having a first-round grade. In fact, McShay’s mock draft has Gordon going 21st overall to the Patriots. This is giving me flashbacks to Jaylon Johnson getting Round 1 consideration in various mocks throughout the pre-draft process, but falling to Chicago with its second second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. It would be nice if history was able to repeat itself.
Hoge Sprays to All Fields With Mock Draft 1.0
I’m digging Adam Hoge’s first mock draft at NBC Sports Chicago.
In his mock, Hoge sends the Bears a LB (Wyoming’s Chad Muma), WR (Purdue’s David Bell), DT (Ohio States Haskell Garrett), center (Boston College’s Alec Lindstrom), and CB (Arizona State’s Chase Lucas). Each of those selections make sense for the Bears. Heck, you could take the names away and still look at that draft thinking that Chicago chose players at positions of need. Maybe an off-ball linebacker isn’t the best value at No. 39. Perhaps you’d feel better if the center was a lineman with more experience starting at other positions along the line. We could get nit-picky with all these mock draft choices. But I won’t.
That’s because I’m all for waves of options falling in my lap this time of year.
But Seriously, Fix the Offense
On the one hand, I’m into Hoge’s plug-holes-everywhere mock draft. But on the other hand, the post-Super Bowl mock draft from Bleacher Report’s NFL Scouting Department team prioritizing fixing Chicago’s offense has my heart.
With the 39th overall pick, the B/R staff has the Bears taking Cincinnati receiver Alec Pierce. The 2021 second-team All-AAC performer caught 52 passes for 884 yards with 8 touchdowns last season. At 6-2 and 208 pounds, Pierce has the build of a red zone threat and someone who can use his size and strength as leverage to win one-on-one battles. He isn’t the splashiest prospect on the board, but would make for a sensible selection.
*Alec Pierce down there somewhere*#CFB
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) October 30, 2021
A few under the radar prospects that my interest this Championship Weekend.
1) Alec Pierce | WR | Cin | #12
The size + athleticism combination at WR is super intriguing. Not a top of 6'3" deep threat and RZ thread hybrids walking around. pic.twitter.com/lhFdkIddVN
— Matt Lane (@Matty_KCSN) December 4, 2021
And with the 71st selection, B/R has the Bears taking Penn State offensive tackle Rasheed Walker. Fixing the offensive line figures to be a priority for this new front office. And even though waiting until Round 3 might make some fans antsy, a mock draft in which the Bears snag a three-year starter at left tackle at a power conference school on Day 2 makes it worth the wait. prospects to watch for each team
I don’t know a Bears fan who wouldn’t mind adding someone who can keep the projected No. 1 overall pick at bay:
rasheed walker owns aidan hutchinson pic.twitter.com/l3ZG7UIBkB
— cristianˢᵖᶠᶜ DRAFT (@Cristianspfc_) February 15, 2022
• Flipping through mock drafts has me coming to the conclusion that as many as six quarterbacks could get chosen before GM Ryan Poles makes his first-ever pick. No, seriously. Six QBs going in the first 38 picks seems wild, but it is plausible. McShay has the Commanders, Steelers, Saints, and Lions taking quarterbacks in Round 1. And because I can make a case for the Lions, Texans, Giants, and Panthers taking quarterbacks, then maybe getting to six QBs in the first 38 picks isn’t totally outlandish. Would it be nuts? Absolutely. But it isn’t off-my-rocker crazy.
• Bucky Brooks (NFL Media) runs through his top five prospects at every position. And if you consider Chicago’s needs and where the team is picking at 39, it is easy to conclude the Bears are in a sweet spot. Sticking at No. 39 would be easy. There is a real chance a first-round caliber talent falls into the Bears’ laps with the 39th pick. Maybe even a top-5 player at a position of need. For instance, offensive linemen like Kenyon Green (Texas A&M), Zion Johnson (Boston College), Darian Kinnard (Kentucky), and Jamaree Salyer (Georgia) go unchosen in Round 1 of McShay’s mock. Same for Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary, as well as four of Brooks’ top-5 safeties.
• There will be talent available. Almost enough talent to where I can easily be swayed into trading down. And this just screams to do it:
The 2022 Draft class is really unique to me.
* No "elite" QB
* No Rd1 RB (that's ok)
* No "presidential" talent (i.e. would be a top pick in most of last 4-5 drafts)
* A lot of "starter quality" players throughout Rds 1-3
* Story of this Draft to me is depth > top-end talent
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 17, 2022
• It feels like a good draft to need a receiver:
I'm expecting the #Bears to target deep threat WR in the draft as their offense looks to get more vertical. Some targets:
• George Pickens, UGA
• Christian Watson, NDSU
• Romeo Doubs, Nevada
• Jalen Tolbert, S. Alabama
• Samori Toure, Nebraska
• Braylon Sanders, Ole Miss
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) February 18, 2022
• Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox name-checks Alabama receiver John Metchie III as the one prospect the Bears need to grab in this draft. Metchie is B/R’s No. 43 prospect, but would’ve likely been higher had he not torn his ACL during last December’s SEC Championship Game. The road to recovery will keep Metchie out of action early, but the long-term play might be worth it for the Bears.
• This is what a healthy Metchie can do:
Alabama takes the lead 🔴⚪️
John Metchie makes the grab for 6
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 4, 2021
• The Bears’ needs at receiver are obvious. But because this front office shouldn’t be fooling itself into a quick-fix re-tooling, targeting someone like Metchie as a long-term option makes so much sense. If Chicago’s medical staff were to give drafting Metchie a green light because the team’s belief that he could recover and regain his pre-injury form, it could make him the steal of the draft. And that is something the Bears should be looking for at draft time.
• In the aforementioned Tankathon mock draft, Chicago goes with South Alabama receiver Jalen Tolbert at pick No. 71. There is some impressive tape for this prospect:
Jalen Tolbert in a nutshell here
– Sudden feet at the LOS
– Speed to stay on top of the CB
– High-point with ease
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) February 2, 2022
Don’t let Jalen Tolbert get lost in all of the Christian Watson hype…
Because. He. Is. That. Dude.pic.twitter.com/YmC69e2VCH
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) February 9, 2022
• Get your prospect meeting trackers ready. The Bears have supposedly spoken with Wake Forest defensive back Ja’Sir Taylor, per Chicago sports tweeter Daniel Greenberg. Taylor was a 2020 All-ACC honorable mention and a third-team All-ACC player in 2021 by Athlon Sports. Wake Forest isn’t a known football powerhouse, but Taylor has some highlights on his reel: