So the Bears didn’t fulfill the wishes of the many who were craving a high-profile receiver landing in Chicago in the 2022 NFL Draft. Kind of a bummer, I’ll admit it.
But don’t you fret, my friend. Reinforcements may still be coming … just over the horizon.
We saw big early run at WR position in last week’s NFL draft with six taken in top 18 picks. Based off @seniorbowl preliminary grades for all P5 prospects, next year’s senior wideout class will be SIGNIFICANTLY better than 2022 group. WR trending 📈.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) May 5, 2022
Wait ’til next year might be a familiar refrain for Chicago baseball fans, but it’s applicable for us as we await GM Ryan Poles to make a splashy addition to the receivers room.
Patience is key. And if the Bears have it, they may be able to reap the rewards in due time. Senior Bowl executive Jim Nagy’s early projections hinting at a strong receiver class should be music to the ears of Bears fans, their quarterback, and the general manager who will be in a far better position to take one (or two … three?) in next year’s NFL Draft.
In fact, we’re already seeing way-too-early mock drafts send the Bears receiver help.
The Pittsburgh receiver, who is currently in college football’s transfer portal, projects to go seventh overall to Chicago. Addison is coming off a 100-catch, 1,593-yard, 17 touchdown season catching passes from 2022 first-round QB Kenny Pickett. Much like the 2022 draft, this ridiculously early mock is loaded with receiver options. McShay has five going in the first round, with two landing in the top-10.
All things considered, we should probably start getting to know the receiver prospects in next year’s class. Because Addison isn’t the only one already garnering a connection to the Bears on the mock draft circuit. In fact, there appears to already be an early consensus on Poles going with a different receiver in next year’s draft:
DraftWire’s Luke Easterling projects the Bears to take Ohio State standout Jaxon Smith-Njigba ninth overall. As does USA Today’s Christian D’Andrea, who has the Buckeye star going to Chicago with the fifth pick. Same for Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports, who has the Bears picking sixth overall. Joe Marino of The Draft Network envisions Chicago’s football team taking (you guessed it!) Smith-Njigba with the seventh overall selection.
Smith-Njigba is coming off a 95-catch, 1,595-yard season. He has primarily been operating out of the slot out at Ohio State, but expanding his role in 2022 could further bolster his draft profile. As if this highlight reel doesn’t do that enough:
And whaddya know, he’s already made highlights with Justin Fields:
OK, all right, I can already hear you saying that it’s too early to be looking that far ahead.
And you’re not wrong.
Then again, people thought similarly around this time in 2020: