After a heartbreaking loss to the Eagles in the playoffs two years ago, the Bears were on a path to eventually become one of the better teams in the NFC.
It proved not to be the case as Chicago took a massive step back since in 2019. The Bears finished with a disappointing 8-8 record and third in the NFC North. Chicago had a strong defense; it was the Bears’ underwhelming offense that led to their decline.
Without a 2020 first-round pick as a result of the Khalil Mack trade, general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy still had enough draft capital to improve the team via the draft.
Chicago's 2020 draft picks:
- No. 43: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
- No. 50: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
- No. 155: Trevis Gipson, EDGE, Tulsa
- No. 163: Kindle Vildor, CB, Georgia Southern
- No. 173: Darnell Mooney, WR, Tulane
- No. 226: Arlington Hambright, G, Colorado
- No. 227: Lachavious Simmons, OL, Tennessee State
Best Pick: Jaylon Johnson
Johnson was widely seen as a potential Day 1 selection and slipped to the middle of the second round. He fell right in the laps of the Bears and can make an instant impact in coordinator Chuck Pagano's defense. Johnson has the patience, ball skills and length to quickly turn into a starter for one of the league’s best defenses. After Chicago parted ways with veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara, in an effort to free up cap space, it opened a pathway for Johnson to be its No. 2 outside corner.
Biggest Surprise: None
As odd as it may seem, there weren't any picks the Bears made that should've caught anyone completely off guard. The only surprise was Chicago taking Kmet earlier than warranted, but there were pre-draft whispers that he could be selected anywhere from the late first to the early second round; landing Kmet at No. 43 falls right into that category.
Day 3 Sleeper: Darnell Mooney
Every year, there are analytical darlings and late-round selections that people fall in love with. Mooney was one of those prospects in this class. He’s a supreme deep threat who can also have an impact in other areas. Mooney is the roof stretcher the Bears were hoping to get in Taylor Gabriel. Mooney can step into Gabriel’s place and be Chicago’s logical answer at a fraction of the cost.
X-Factor: Cole Kmet
Since the Pace era began, the Bears have desperately searched for tight ends, but spending a second-round pick on Adam Shaheen and signing Trey Burton to a lucrative free-agent deal were massive failures. They are hoping for a better outcome with Kmet.
Chicago was still suffering Mack’s departure. It was a transaction the Bears seemed happy with, but not having a first-round pick always makes the draft a little more challenging. With needs in the secondary and at tight end, Chicago came away with meaningful results despite having its hands tied. The Bears still need help along the interior offensive line and it’s unclear if Simmons, Chicago’s seventh-round selection, will be enough to satisfy that need.
- May 25, 2022
- May 21, 2022