So … Who’s Left for the Bears to Draft?
There were nine offensive linemen, six wide receivers, and four cornerbacks selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. If you need me to put that into context given the Bears present needs, one good word would be “OUCH.”
To be clear, it isn’t a total loss. There are still 200+ picks to be made over the next two days. And there is a decent chance some darn good ballplayers will be unearthed from this group. No, the Bears don’t have a high volume of picks (so the odds of snagging multiple draft gems isn’t particularly strong), but I’m looking forward to the next few days. It’s a big opportunity for GM Ryan Poles, Assistant GM Ian Cunningham, Head Coach Matt Eberflus, and the new-look Bears organization to add some talent.
So … who’s (or what’s) left for the Bears to draft?
Well, the answer depends on your point of view.
Using Arif Hasan’s consensus big board picks from The Athletic, there is optimism to be had if you’re looking for the Bears to grab the best player at a position of need:
Top 32 picks remaining on the consensus board pic.twitter.com/tj9EAwDdE1
— Arif Hasan, silenced hexagon (@ArifHasanNFL) April 29, 2022
I can’t front. There is still some life here if you’re looking for some ballers:
⇒ Cornerbacks and safeties: Andrew Booth (Clemson), Kyler Gordon (Washington), Jaquan Brisker (Penn State), Jalen Pitre (Baylor), Roger McCreary (Auburn).
⇒ Wide receivers: George Pickens (Georgia), Christian Watson (North Dakota State), Skyy Moore (Western Michigan), John Metchie III (Alabama).
⇒ Offensive line: Bernhard Raimann (Central Michigan), Daniel Faalele (Minnesota)
⇒ Defensive ends and 3-technique defensive tackles: David Ojabo (Michigan), Arnold Ebiketie (Penn State), Boye Mafe (Minnesota), Logan Hall (Houston), Perrion Winfrey (Oklahoma), Drake Jackson (USC).
⇒ Linebackers: Nakobe Dean (Georgia), Chad Muma (Wyoming), Christian Harris (Alabama), Leo Chenal (Wisconsin)
It really looks like the second round is a great place to land some quality defensive talent. Whether it is up front with a disruptive 3-technique defensive tackle (Hall, Winfrey), or pass-rusher (Jackson), in the middle of the “D” at linebacker (Dean, Chenal), and even in the secondary (Gordon, Pitre, McCreary, Booth).
Obviously, the Bears will want to take the best player available. And it very well could come on defense. But if you were hoping this group would be loaded with offensive playmakers, you’ll probably be disappointed with what you see above. Then again, the Bears could be in a position to scoop up a receiver (Pickens, Watson, Moore, Metchie) and an offensive lineman (Raimann) and make that segment of Bears fans happy.
In the end, the Bears can still do well with their two second-round picks, which come with picks 39 and 48. Or, to put it in a different light, the seventh and 16th picks in the second round. In other words, the Bears have a unique opportunity to land (1) two of the top-20 players in this round and (2) two top-50 prospects in this class. This is a sweet spot to get some talent. And it could be a place to trade down. Here’s hoping Poles makes the most of the opportunity in the best way possible.