Who Are the Best Receiver Fits for the Bears in the 2022 NFL Draft?

The 2022 NFL Draft is fast approaching. And even though new GM Ryan Poles doesn’t have a first-round pick, he is set to usher in a new era of Bears football with Assistant GM Ian Cunningham, Head Coach Matt Eberflus, and a host of other newbies. Starting today, we’re looking at some of the best prospects at various positions leading up to the Draft in search of fits for the Bears’ needs.

Previous: Quarterbacks

Need: The Bears needs receiver help the way I need grilled meats and a cold beverage when I hit the tailgate.

Currently on the Roster (2021 PFF Grade):

Darnell Mooney (74.7), Byron Pringle (65.2), Equanimeous St. Brown (56.2), Nsimba Webster (60.0), Isaiah Coulter (52.3), Dazz Newsome (48.1)

BN’s Composite Ranking

Ranking prospects is difficult, in part, because no one publication has the same set of fundamentals or preferences. In an attempt to work through that noise, we’re using a composite ranking based on opinions from PFF, ESPN, CBS Sports, and NFL dot com, and adapting them to a points scale. The best of the top-10 prospects gets 10 points, the 10th ranked prospect gets 1, and prospects outside the top-10 get 0. From there, the prospects are ranked by total points.

Here’s how the receivers stack up (points in parenthesis):

1.   Garrett Wilson, Ohio State (38)
2.   Jameson Williams, Alabama (34)
3.   Drake London, USC (32)
4.   Chris Olave, Ohio State (28)
5.   Treylon Burks, Arkansas (26)
6.   Jahan Dotson, Penn State (15)
7.   Skyy Moore, Western Michigan (15)
8.   George Pickens, Georgia (14)
9.   Christian Watson, North Dakota State (11)
10.  Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama (4)

Also receiving Top-10 consideration: John Metchie III (Alabama – PFF WR10, ESPN WR10), Khalil Shakir (Boise State – CBS WR10)

Team Fit

It’s a tradition unlike any other around here. Draft weekend rolls around and the Bears have needs (yes, plural) at wide receiver. And while it’s not as if Ryan Pace didn’t try to plug holes at the position. It’s just that he wasn’t all that good at it. Sure, the Darnell Mooney pick in 2020 was a steal. However, trading up for Anthony Miller didn’t pay off the way Chicago was hoping it would when it made the deal. And neither of the late-round selections of Riley Ridley or Javon Wims panned out. With that being said, here’s hoping Ryan Poles has a different plan of action when it comes to addressing the position.

Because of the depth in this class, the Bears could conceivably do some double dipping at receiver. Maybe target a big-bodied receiver with one pick and a speedster with another. Perhaps unearth a multi-positional pass-catcher who can play inside and out. It could be possible to find a receiver who doubles as a return ace early in their pro career. The options seem endless. So much so, using a three Day 2 picks at receiver, then doubling back on Day 3 could be the most ideal play. At minimum, that path could help this team build out depth and create competition at the position.

Likely to be Available When the Bears Are on the Clock

Choosing three players who project to be available when the Bears go on the clock with each of their picks.

Round 2, Pick 39: George Pickens (Georgia), Christian Watson (North Dakota State), John Metchie III (Alabama)

Round 2, Pick 48: Jalen Tolbert (South Alabama), Jahan Dotson (Penn State), Skyy Moore (Western Michigan)

Round 3, Pick 71: David Bell (Purdue), Calvin Austin III (Memphis), Alec Pierce (Cincinnati)

Round 5, Pick 150: Justyn Ross (Clemson), Tyquan Thornton (Baylor)  Velus Jones Jr. (Tennessee)

Round 6, Pick 186: Dontario Drummond (Ole Miss), Jalen Nailor (Michigan State), Reggie Roberson Jr. (SMU)

Bears Connections…

•   Christian Watson, North Dakota State (Senior Bowl, Combine)
•   Jahan Dotson, Penn State (Combine)
•   Tyquan Thornton, Baylor (Top-30)
•   Khalil Shakir, Boise State (Senior Bowl, Combine)
•   Jalen Nailor, Michigan State (Top-30)
•   Danny Gray, SMU (Top-30)

If I Had to Pick One:

George Pickens fits the mold of what I want in a wide receiver and checks a bunch of boxes. His 6-3, 200-pound frame gives him the ideal frame for a WR1 type of player. While at Georgia, he flashed big play potential and in big games. An ACL injury cut short his final season at UGA, but that he came back from the injury to make an appearance in the Bulldogs’ national championship title-winning game speaks volumes about his ability to bounce back from injury (and his commitment to football).

Seriously, where do I sign up for this?

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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