The event is being held on the Las Vegas strip in the area adjacent to Caesars Forum two years after it was initially scheduled. The 2020 draft was turned into a virtual event because of COVID-19.
Here’s a pick-by-pick look at how each player Chicago has selected will fit.
Round 2, No. 39 overall: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
My take: Ryan Poles’ first draft pick as Chicago’s general manager addresses a void in the secondary. The Bears need to find a starter opposite Jaylon Johnson at cornerback, and Gordon’s outside/inside versatility gives the Bears an intriguing option. Gordon led the Huskies in pass deflections and interceptions in 2021, starting opposite first-round pick Trent McDuffie. The Bears allowed 31 passing touchdowns in 2021, which is tied for second-most allowed in franchise history (31 in 2015, 34 in 2014). According to NFL Next Gen Stats, a cornerback was the nearest defender on 27 of the Bears’ 31 passing TDs allowed, the most in the NFL. While the Bears want to build around quarterback Justin Fields, snagging one of the draft’s top corners was a wise decision to help aid their struggling pass defense and help their issues generating turnovers (minus-13 in turnover differential in 2021, third-worst in NFL).
Check out the best highlights from Jaquan Brisker’s college career at Penn State.
Round 2, No. 48 overall: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
My take: The Bears doubled down on defense in the second round and selected a player who could start opposite Eddie Jackson at safety. Most of Brisker’s snaps came playing up in the box, but his versatility makes him a fit at deep safety or in the slot. “He was always the kind of the guy that was the defensive coordinator on the field for Penn State,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. His size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds), flexibility and physicality make him a solid addition to Chicago’s secondary, but the bigger topic might be the Bears’ decision to forego any offensive additions with their top two picks to aid quarterback Justin Fields in his second season.
Check out the best highlights from Velus Jones Jr.’s college career at Tennessee.
Round 3, No. 71 overall: Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
My take: The Bears were looking for speed and they found it in Jones, who ran a 4.31-second 40-yard dash. They also addressed a need on special teams by nabbing arguably the best returner in college football, who averaged 132.5 all purpose-yards per game in 2021. How Jones projects as a wide receiver in the NFL is a bit of an unknown considering his modest offensive production throughout a college career that began in 2016 at USC and culminated in him catching 62 passes for 807 yards and seven touchdowns at Tennessee. The Bears passed up on a handful of more proven receivers, including Jalen Tolbert, Calvin Austin III and David Bell. Chicago isn’t concerned about Jones being a 25-year-old rookie and is fond of his run-after-the-catch ability. Now they’ll have to figure out how he’ll be utilized as a weapon for quarterback Justin Fields.
What’s next: The Bears did not trade back on Friday, so they enter Day 3 without a fourth-round pick. They’ll have to wait until No. 148 in the fifth round to start drafting again and still haven’t selected an offensive lineman. That’s not ideal for Fields’ development considering pass protection remains an area of concern. The O-linemen available to the Bears where they’re currently drafting are expected to be developmental prospects as rookies, so the help for Fields up front may have to come elsewhere this offseason.