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The 2022 NFL draft is just around the corner, and the Chicago Bears will be looking to address some important needs with some limited draft capital.
New Bears general manager Ryan Poles will have just six draft picks to fill some big needs at wide receiver, offensive line, defensive back and other positions of need. While Chicago doesn’t have a first-round selection, they do have two picks in the second round and three total selections in the top 71.
With the NFL draft just around the corner, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. unveiled his latest two-round mock draft, where the Bears addressed two important needs with their pair of second rounders.
Round 2, Pick 39: CB Kyler Gordon, Washington
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The Bears’ first selection comes in the second round with the 39th overall pick, where Kiper has them addressing a pressing need at cornerback with Washington’s Kyler Gordon.
Here’s what Kiper had to say about Gordon:
“The Bears could go several ways here, including offensive tackle, wide receiver and guard. With Gordon still available, though, I’d pounce. He has lockdown traits and didn’t allow a single touchdown in coverage last season. There has been a great history of teams finding starting corners in the second round, and Gordon has a great chance to play early.”
Cornerback was arguably the biggest weakness on defense last season, and it’s a position Poles hasn’t been aggressive in addressing through free agency. Right now, Jaylon Johnson is the only starter locked down at cornerback. Second-year pro Thomas Graham Jr. figures to have a chance to compete for the starting outside job opposite Johnson. Chicago also added Tavon Young this offseason to fill the need at slot corner.
Round 2, Pick 48: OT/G Tyler Smith, Tulsa
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With Chicago’s second selection in the second round, Kiper has the Bears getting some additional protection for quarterback Justin Fields in Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith.
Here’s what Kiper had to say about Smith:
“I mentioned Chicago’s offensive line need at No. 39, and Smith could play a role at guard or tackle. He played left tackle for the Golden Hurricane, but some teams view him as a better guard at the next level. He has to be more consistent and work on his technique — he was called for a whopping 12 penalties last season — but the tools are there.”
The offensive line remains a huge concern heading into the NFL draft, and it’s expected that Chicago will use one of their top three draft selections on an offensive lineman. Smith would be a good fit at either tackle or guard, and the Bears are currently experimenting with an offensive line alignment in voluntary minicamp to find the best spots for players.
What still needs to be addressed
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No doubt the biggest need still on the board after Kiper’s two-round mock draft is wide receiver. But it’s a huge concern that the position wasn’t addressed within the first two rounds given the depth at wide receiver, where Chicago can nab a talented prospect in the third round. Guys like Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore or South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert could be options at Pick 71. Elsewhere, the Bears have needs at linebacker, defensive tackle and safety.