Projecting the Bears’ 2022 starting offense after NFL draft

The 2022 NFL draft is in the books, and the Chicago Bears welcomed 11 new rookies to the roster. Even now, it’s hard to know exactly what this team will look like with an entire offseason ahead of us.

Genreal manager Ryan Poles entered the draft with plenty of needs, including wide receiver, offensive line and defensive back. And he addressed those in some form with the additions of four offensive linemen, three defensive backs and one wideout.

But there are still some holes at certain positions, including receiver, linebacker and defensive line, and Poles could look to free agency or during roster cuts in training camp to address them.

After 2022 NFL draft, we’re projecting what the Bears starting offense will look like this season.

QB Justin Fields

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There’s no question about who’s QB1 heading into the 2022 season. Justin Fields gets an entire offseason to prepare as the starting quarterback, where he’ll learn a new offense under offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. Fields is expected to make a big leap in Year 2.

RB David Montgomery

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Running back is one the most consistent groups on offense, which starts with David Montgomery. Montgomery is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and there’s no question he’s the lead back heading into 2022. Montgomery has been one of Chicago’s most consistent players over the last couple of seasons.

WR Darnell Mooney

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Darnell Mooney is coming off his first 1,000-yard receiving season, where he cemented himself as a playmaker for the Bears. Things are looking up for Mooney entering Year 3, where he’ll look to build on his chemistry with Fields and continue to grow as a downfield threat.

WR Byron Pringle

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The Bears added a speedy weapon in former Chiefs wideout Byron Pringle, who signed a one-year, prove-it deal. Right now, he’s the second wide receiver on the depth chart. Pringle looks like he’s going to be the WR2, minus another free-agent addition this offseason. Pringle was buried on the Chiefs’ depth chart, and he’s now poised for a breakout season in Chicago.

WR Velus Jones Jr.

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The Bears added just one wide receiver in the NFL draft with Tennessee’s Velus Jones Jr., who projects to serve as a starter behind Mooney and Pringle. Jones, a third-round selection, is a speedy threat that Luke Getsy will have fun utilizing. He’s also one of the best yards-after-the-catch wideouts in this draft class.

TE Cole Kmet

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Cole Kmet is entering his third season with the Bears, and he’s sure to benefit from a new offense and playcaller in Getsy. Kmet took a step forward in his second year, where he saw a significant uptick in production, more than doubling his production from his rookie season. Kmet could finally have a breakout season in Year 3.

LT Larry Borom

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Larry Borom was solid in his rookie season, where he took over for Germain Ifedi at right tackle and held his own against some of the league’s top pass rushers. Borom figures to factor into Chicago’s plans as a starter in 2022, but it’s uncertain where he’s going to land. During voluntary minicamp, Borom worked at left tackle, which could be an indication that’s where this regime believes he fits best.

LG Cody Whitehair

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While it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Cody Whitehair become another cap casualty as Poles reworks the roster, the assumption is Whitehair will retain his starting left guard job in 2022. Whitehair is coming off a down year and will have a $12.3 salary cap hit, the third-highest on the team.

C Lucas Patrick

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Lucas Patrick could wind up being one of the most under-the-radar signings of free agency. Patrick os a versatile interior lineman, where he’s played center, left guard and right guard. But Patrick said he was brought here to serve as the team’s starting center, where communication with his new quarterback Justin Fields will be key. He also has a good understanding of new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme.

RG Sam Mustipher

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Sam Mustipher proved to be a liability at center last season, and the Bears have addressed that with the addition of Patrick. Chicago has a glaring hole at right guard right now, where Mustipher was the one who got looks at the position during voluntary minicamp. Right now, Mustipher projects as the right guard. But that could certainly change during training camp.

RT Teven Jenkins

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Teven Jenkins missed most of his rookie year after having back surgery in training camp. When he returned, he saw some playing time at left tackle in place of an injured Jason Peters. While Jenkins surely figures to be a starter on the offensive line, the question is where he’ll line up. Jenkins saw time at right tackle during voluntary minicamp, an indication he could be moving back to his natural position.

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