Bears 2022 Draft Grades
The Chicago Bears entered the 2022 NFL Draft with six picks. They ended it with 11 new rookies to evaluate for the Bears 2022 draft grades. It was fun to watch General Manager Ryan Poles work the phones and add the necessary bodies to several open competitions looming this summer.
Here’s a breakdown of each pick and a final grade for Poles and the Bears in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Bears 2022 Draft Grades
Round 2 (No. 39 overall): Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
Kyler Gordon was considered a fringe-first-round pick throughout the 2022 NFL Draft process, so landing him in the second round is fantastic value for the Bears. Combine that value with the glaring need Chicago has opposite cornerback Jaylon Johnson in the secondary, and Gordon is a home run. He’ll bring the kind of physical and nasty demeanor the Bears fans will love from their defenders.
Round 2 (No. 48 overall): Jaquan Brisker, SAF, Penn State
Jaquan Brisker was a surprise pick in the second round only because of the position he plays. His tape had some draft analysts mocking him in the first round, and had he gone that high, no one would’ve questioned it. Brisker is a versatile safety who is equal parts run defender and coverage specialist. His ball skills will be welcomed by a defensive coaching staff preaching turnovers in 2022.
Round 3 (No. 71 overall): Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
Velus Jones Jr. wasn’t the preferred wide receiver among Bears fans, but he’ll bring an exciting blend of straight-line speed and open-field elusiveness that should make him an immediate contributor on offense as a rookie. His ability as a kick returner only enhances the value of this pick. Sure, he’s 25 years old, but who cares. He’ll play right away in Chicago and will be expected to produce at a high level for the duration of his rookie contract.
Round 5 (No. 168 overall): Braxton Jones, OL, Southern Utah
Braxton Jones started the run on offensive linemen during day three. A small-school standout who boasts an elite physical makeup (over 35-inch arms), Jones is a prospect who isn’t quite ready to play in 2022, but as a developmental prospect with upside, Jones could factor into the offensive tackle discussion in a season or two.
Round 5 (No. 174 overall): Dominique Robinson, EDGE, Miami (OH)
Dominique Robinson was one of the more exciting selections by the Bears in the 2022 NFL Draft. The wide receiver convert had 8.5 sacks in his first full season starting on defense in 2021 and brings a combination of quick-twitch athleticism and raw power to Chicago. He has a chance to be a contributor in subpackages as a pass-rush specialist in 2022.
Round 6 (No. 186 overall): Zachary Thomas, IOL, San Diego State
If I had to bet on any day-three pick starting in the first game of the 2022 season, it’d be Zachary Thomas. The collegiate right tackle will kick inside to guard, where the Bears have a vacancy on the right side. Thomas’ blend of movement skills and strength add to his already sound technique. He’s a very good prospect who may just be one of the five best offensive linemen on the Bears’ roster right now.
Round 6 (No. 203 overall): Trestan Ebner, RB, Baylor
If there was a pick in the 2022 draft that didn’t make much sense to me, it was Trestan Ebner. He’s a better receiver than runner out of the backfield, and if I had to guess, I’d imagine the Bears are going to move him to wide receiver this summer.
Round 6 (No. 207 overall): Doug Kramer, IOL, Illinois
Doug Kramer, a life-long Bears fan, will provide depth along the interior of the offensive line but needs to get stronger before he can be considered a viable challenger for gameday reps. Strength can be developed, though, and Kramer’s sound fundamental skill set gives him a chance to hang around on the practice squad for a few seasons of that development.
Round 7 (No. 226 overall): Ja’Tyre Carter, OL, Southern
Ja’Tyre Carter is an explosive athlete (as evidenced by his 35-inch vertical jump at his pro day) and has the necessary baseline traits to warrant a late draft pick. He’ll compete for a practice squad spot in 2022. That said, the Bears’ offensive line is far from a sure thing, and a strong showing from Carter in the preseason could help him stick around on the active roster.
Round 7 (No. 254 overall): Elijah Hicks, SAF, Cal
Elijah Hicks is a quality player both on and off the field. A veteran of 46 starts, Hicks will bring leadership qualities that help develop culture inside of a locker room. Whether his on-field abilities are good enough to hang around beyond training camp is yet to be seen, but his experience and versatility should help his cause. If nothing else, Hicks will level up the competition and help make the Bears better in practice.
Round 7 (No. 255 overall): Trenton Gill, P, NC State
I’m not an advocate for drafting kickers, so of course, I’m not a fan of this pick. But with 10 selections already in the books, why not, right? Drafting Trenton Gill at this spot is the same as signing him as an undrafted free agent, and with a vacancy at punter, adding one of college football’s best makes sense.
I like what Poles did in his first draft with the Bears. He didn’t add the big-name wide receiver—I understand why that sparked criticism—but his conviction to his draft board and the level of talent he added by staying true to that board should be commended. This is how you build good teams. And for that, Poles earns a solid B.
Overall Grade: B
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