Bears Mock Draft 2022
Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles is taking advantage of some free-agent bargains with less than three weeks to go until the 2022 NFL Draft. The Bears added a quality nickel cornerback in former Baltimore Raven Tavon Young, and veteran tight end Ryan Griffin was inked to provide depth behind Cole Kmet. Young’s addition is the bigger of the two signings and will directly impact the Bears’ 2022 NFL draft plan and this Bears Mock Draft.
Cornerback has long ranked high on the Bears’ list of draft needs, and while Young alone doesn’t eliminate that need, he knocks it down a few spots on the wish list.
With that in mind, here’s an updated seven-round Bears mock draft as we inch closer to the 2022 NFL Draft kicking off. I used TDN’s industry-leading mock draft machine to conduct this exercise. Let me know on Twitter (@BryanPerezNFL) if you love or hate (but especially love) these picks.
7-Round Bears Mock Draft
Round 2 (No. 39 overall): Treylon Burks, WR, Alabama
Do I think Treylon Burks will be hanging around when the Bears pick in the second round? Probably not. But this is the NFL draft, and crazy things like this happen all the time. It’s especially true when a player underwhelms at the NFL Scouting Combine the way Burks did in February.
His slower-than-expected 40-yard dash and pedestrian explosion scores have some wondering whether he can be a Deebo Samuel-like game-breaker in the NFL. I’m not one of those people.
Burks is the perfect pick for Chicago in this year’s draft. He’s the size-speed blend that the Bears lack at wide receiver, and he’s the after-the-catch wizard Chicago hasn’t had in many, many years. With wide receiver Darnell Mooney, Burks makes a phenomenal one-two punch for quarterback Justin Fields to grow with.
Round 2 (No. 48 overall): Tyler Smith, iOL, Tulsa
Tyler Smith’s stock has been all over the place in recent weeks. There’s been some first-round buzz on him, but I think that was a bit rich. He’s an extremely raw but incredibly talented offensive lineman who profiles more as an interior player right now. Smith has offensive tackle upside, which makes his value even higher.
Players like Smith are true wild cards. Teams with strong offensive line coaches will view Smith as one of this year’s biggest sleepers and might reach on him in the latter stages of the first round. But this pick is where his true value lies, and a team like the Bears would be a great fit.
Smith would slide in as a starter at guard for Chicago as a rookie. He’s talented enough to potentially replace Larry Borom at right tackle and force Borom to move inside. Either way, Smith would be a win for the Bears.
Round 3 (No. 71 overall): Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
Khalil Shakir’s NFL Draft stock may have peaked a little too soon. There hasn’t been as much buzz about him as there was after the NFL Scouting Combine, and while that doesn’t mean he’ll free-fall out of day two, it does suggest he’ll be hanging around when the Bears are on the clock in the third round. And if that’s the case? This would be a home run.
Shakir reminds me a lot of Buffalo Bills star Stefon Diggs. He’s a ridiculously skilled route-runner who has ankle-breaking ability in the open field. While he may not possess the prototypical physical make-up to be a true No. 1 wide receiver, he has a chance to become one of the NFL’s best slot targets.
If the Bears exit the 2022 NFL Draft with a wide receiver depth chart of Mooney, Burks, Byron Pringle, Shakir, and Equanimeous St. Brown, it’s safe to say the fan base will be thrilled.
Round 5 (No. 148 overall): Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson
Young may have pushed the cornerback need down the team’s list of must-haves, but it didn’t eliminate it. I’m certain the Bears will draft a cornerback in this year’s draft, and Mario Goodrich offers great value as a solid day-three pick. Is he the kind of prospect who can challenge to start right away? No, but neither was last year’s sixth-round pick, Thomas Graham.
Goodrich didn’t do exceptionally well at the NFL Scouting Combine, and he has limited experience as a starter at Clemson. But he’s a fluid athlete on the field who projects as a better pro than college player. If nothing else, he’ll add depth to a cornerback group that needs it.
Round 5 (No. 150 overall): Zamir White, RB, Georgia
What would a mock draft be without a curveball? Here’s mine for the Bears.
Sure, running back isn’t on any pre-draft team-needs lists, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Poles takes one on day three. I especially won’t be surprised if he values Zamir White as a player he can’t pass up at this point in the draft.
Starting running back David Montgomery is entering the final year of his rookie contract. We know how unpredictable negotiations can be with those second deals for this position. Khalil Herbert was a day-three steal last year, but every team needs multiple running backs to succeed. Enter White, who can essentially redshirt or play sparingly as the Bears’ RB3 in 2022 with the plan to ascend to RB2 behind Herbert, or even RB1 if Montgomery leaves town in 2023.
Poles keeps preaching sustained success. He wants to build a roster that wins year over year. Part of that strategy has to include contingencies and replacements for star players who get injured or leave via free agency. Enter White.
White is one of the best pure running backs in the 2022 NFL draft. He has major injury red flags after tearing both of his ACLs during his time at Georgia. He split time with James Cook in 2021 and was generally an afterthought as a draft prospect this year, but his NFL Scouting Combine performance reminded scouts of why he was one of the top recruits of his cycle.
There’s a chance White will fall this far because of his knees. NFL teams don’t use high picks on players with injury histories as bad as White’s. If he falls, the Bears might pounce.
Round 6 (No. 186 overall): Amari Carter, SAF, Miami
Let’s get back to adding some players to fill actual needs, shall we? The Bears have a need at safety next to Eddie Jackson. Amari Carter doesn’t project as a can’t-miss starter, but he will bring to the roster a tough guy’s mentality who isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and deliver a hit. Carter, at best, would be the thunder to Jackson’s lightning.
Let’s summarize. The Bears add two potential starting wide receivers, a starting guard who could emerge as a starting tackle, some cornerback and safety depth, and a running back whose upside might be higher than Montgomery’s. It’s the kind of 2022 NFL Draft haul that seems almost inevitable, sans the whole running back thing.
This year’s draft is deep. Really deep. It’s so deep that it’s almost impossible for Poles to fail. There’s almost no way he can’t fill major holes with quality prospects.
This is the NFL draft, however, where the impossible is always and entirely possible.
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