5 takeaways from the Bears’ 2022 NFL draft

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The 2022 NFL draft has concluded, and the Chicago Bears welcomed 11 new members to their roster. For general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus, it marks the close to their first draft with Chicago.

It’s hard to evaluate this rookie group considering they’ve yet to even step on a practice field yet alone the playing field. But the Bears added two impact starters in the secondary with cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker, as well as a speedy wideout in Velus Jones Jr. There are also some potential late-round gems in this draft class.

From Poles acquiring more draft picks to the need at wide receiver, here are our takeaways following the Bears’ 2022 NFL draft:

Ryan Poles made good on his promise to acquire more draft capital

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Poles made it clear that the Bears would be looking to acquire more draft capital. He showed just that as he was able to turn five draft picks into 11 selections. While Chicago opted to use all three Day 2 picks on potential impact players in cornerback Kyler Gordon, safety Jaquan Brisker and receiver Velus Jones Jr., Poles made some moves on Day 3.

Chicago started Saturday with three draft picks, which Poles turned into eight. Poles sent a 2023 sixth-round pick back to the Chargers for Los Angeles’ two seventh-round selections. But Poles wasn’t done. The Bears also traded back in the fifth round on three separate occasions to double up on picks. It allowed Chicago to add some developmental prospects at areas of need.

The Bears found immediate contributors in the secondary

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Chicago used their first two draft selections — both second rounders — on defense, specifically the secondary, adding cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker. Both Gordon and Brisker project to serve as immediate starters on defense for Chicago, which solves two big holes on defense.

For Poles, it was about best player available, and the Bears got two impact players in Gordon and Brisker to help address the defense’s biggest weakness from last season. Now, Chicago has a starting cornerback duo consisting of Jaylon Johnson and Gordon and a safety pairing of Eddie Jackson and Brisker to help elevate the secondary in 2022.

But they didn't do much to help Justin Fields early on

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

There’s no doubt that the Bears got two talented players in Gordon and Brisker in the second round, and they’re going to be immediate contributors on defense. But after an uninspired offseason where much wasn’t done to help Justin Fields at receiver and offensive line, it was a huge letdown when Chicago didn’t address the offense immediately.

Granted, the Bears did add a speedster in wide receive Velus Jones Jr., who could really carve out a role for himself in Luke Getsy’s offense. But Chicago did ultimately pass on guys like George Pickens and Skyy Moore in the second round and took a flier on Jones in the third.

Bears still need to address receiver position

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Chicago added one — just one — wide receiver in the NFL draft in Velus Jones Jr., and it’s clear that the Bears still have work to do at the position this offseason. Chicago’s receiving corp. currently consists of Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, Jones and Equanimeous St. Brown, among others. It’s not the best group, but perhaps we could see Poles make another move in free agency to address the position.

There are some big names still available, including Julio Jones, Jarvis Landry, Will Fuller, T.Y. Hilton and Odell Beckham Jr., as well as other serviceable options. While it’s clear Poles isn’t one to part with draft capital willingly, the Bears could also explore the trade market for someone like Deebo Samuel or D.K. Metcalf.

Bears focused on major needs in secondary and offensive line

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

When you look at the Bears’ draft breakdown by position, it’s clear that the two biggest needs Poles wanted to address was offensive line and secondary, which were two of the team’s biggest weaknesses last year. After all, Chicago used seven of their 11 picks on offensive line (4) and defensive backs (7).

The Bears found two immediate contributors in cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker, who should start as rookies, and added a third in seventh-round pick Elijah Hicks. Chicago added four offensive linemen — Braxton Jones, Zach Thomas, Doug Kramer and Ja’Tyre Carter — between Rounds 5 through 7. But the Bears still have needs at wide receiver, linebacker and defensive line that they could still address in free agency.

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