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.
Need: Virtually non-existent.
Currently on the Roster (2021 PFF Grade):
David Montgomery (69.8), Khalil Herbert (78.8), Darrynton Evans (60.8), Khari Blasingame (48.4)
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 running backs stack up (points in parenthesis):
1. Kenneth Walker, Michigan State (39)
2. Breece Hall, Iowa State (37)
3. Dameon Pierce, Florida (25)
4. Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M (22)
5. Zamir White, Georgia (17)
6. James Cook, Georgia (16)
7. Kyren Williams, Notre Dame (12)
t-8. Brian Robinson, Alabama (10)
t-8. Pierre Strong, South Dakota State (10)
t-10. Tyler Allgeier, BYU (7)
t-10. Rachaad White, Arizona State (7)
Also receiving Top-10 consideration: Jashuan Corbin (Florida State, CBS), Abram Smith (Baylor, NFL.com), Kevin Harris (South Carolina, NFL.com), Ty Davis-Price (LSU, NFL.com), D’Vonte Price (Florida International, ESPN), Zonovan Knight (North Carolina State, CBS), Jerome Ford (Cincinnati, ESPN)
Most 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: Please don’t pick a running back here.
Round 2, Pick 48: Or here.
Round 3, Pick 71: Probably shouldn’t pick one here either.
*Round 5, Pick 150: Pierre Strong (South Dakota State), Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M), Tyler Badie (LSU)
Round 6, Pick 186: But seriously, with David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert, and Darrynton Evans on the roster, the Bears really don’t need to draft a running back.
*-OK, fine, but *ONLY* if it is the best player on the board.
If you’re not good at taking hints, let me be clear — I don’t love the idea of the Bears using one of their best picks on a running back. And so long as David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert are on the roster, there isn’t a good reason to use a top pick on a back — even if someone like Kenneth Walker or Breece Hall is on the board.
• Unspecified visit: Tyler Badie (Missouri), DeAndre Torrey (North Texas)
• An April 14 mock draft by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had the Bears plucking Notre Dame’s Kyren Williams with a Day 3 pick. More from that mock draft here.
Zack Pearson of Bear Report does a tremendous job compiling Bears prospect visits. You can follow his work here.
If I Had to Pick One:
Now, *THIS* comp interests me:
See some Tarik Cohen with Tyler Badie. Eager to see him in Mobile.
Smaller, rocked-up frame. Bursts in/out of cuts. Breaks tackles with balance. Outstanding pass-catching traits. pic.twitter.com/BY2c9G75pf
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 21, 2022
I realize the Bears have a different GM, head coach, and offensive play-caller in charge than when the team chose Cohen. But there is no denying Chicago’s football team was missing Cohen’s contributions. Versatility is king in the NFL, and Cohen’s versatility made him a valuable piece of the puzzle. Having one player who wore as many hats as Cohen did when he was healthy paid off for the Bears’ offense and special teams.
With that being said, Tyler Badie intrigues me. The Missouri product has a unique résumé, earning first-team All-SEC and second-team All-American honors last year. In addition to his experience as a feature back in 2021, Badie also has experience as a return specialist. That he lost just two fumbles on the 500+ carries he was given, Badie is the type of multi-purpose back who could be used as a role player early before garnering a longer look as he develops.