Chicago Bears 2022 NFL Draft Preview
The 2022 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (April 28-30). New Bears GM Ryan Poles will have his first shot at building the Bears into the team that he claims will “take over the NFC North and never give it back”.
Once again this year, the Bears don’t have a first round selection. Former GM Ryan Pace traded it to the New York Giants last year in order to move up to select quarterback Justin Fields at #11 overall. Therefore, the Bears first pick will take place on Friday during the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Poles will have three selections on Friday night and three more on Saturday afternoon for a total of six picks this year.
Before we get to the Bears mock draft, we’re going to do a mock First Round for all of you draftniks out there.
2022 Mock Draft (1st Round)
#1 Jacksonville – Travon Walker/Edge Rusher/Georgia/6-5 280/Comparison: Arik Armstead/San Francisco/6-7 290 – I personally would draft either Hutchinson or Thibodeaux with the #1 overall selection, but the rumor mill has Jacksonville taking Travon Walker from Georgia. I love the Georgia Bulldogs, as many of you know. However, Walker never stood out that much to me. Sure he’s good, but he wasn’t the difference maker that the other top two edge rushers were. It sounds like Walker’s combine measurements were off the charts, thus pushing him up the board. Maybe the rumors are false. Maybe Walker will be better than them, but if I had to bet on it, I’d put my money on both Hutchinson and Thibodeaux to be better than Walker.
#2 Detroit – Aidan Hutchinson/Edge/Michigan/6-6 265/Comparison: Nick Bosa/San Francisco/6-4 266 – Should Hutchinson fall to the Lions, Detroit’s fans should be ecstatic about this selection. He dominated at the college level at the nearby University of Michigan, setting a new school record with 14 sacks in one season. He led the Wolverines to their first victory over rival Ohio State since 2011 and their first Big Ten Championship since 2004. Hutchinson is a legacy (his father Chris Hutchinson also played on the defensive line for Michigan). This kid is fun to watch. Lions fans will absolutely love him if he turns Detroit into a winner. Yeah right… we can all dream though, even Lions fans.
#3 Houston – Kayvon Thibodeaux/Edge/Oregon/6-4 255/Comparison: Khalil Mack/L.A. Chargers/6-3 267 – Thibodeaux would be a steal for Houston at #3 overall considering he was usually listed as the projected #1 overall pick in this ’22 Draft for about two years now. His ceiling is really high, and that’s why I compare him to Khalil Mack. We all know what Mack can do when healthy – he’s an absolute game-wrecker. With the right work ethic, Thibodeaux could have a similar career.
#4 N.Y. Jets – Evan Neal/OT/Alabama
#5 N.Y. Giants – Ikem Ekwonu/OT/N.C. State
#6 Carolina – Kenny Pickett/QB/Pitt/6-3 220/NFL Comparison: Drew Lock/QB/Seattle/6-4 228 – Will the Panthers select a quarterback at #6 overall? Are they ready to move on from Sam Darnold? If so, I bet they take Pickett.
#7 N.Y. Giants (from Bears for Justin Fields) – Malik Willis/QB/Liberty/6-0 220/NFL Comparison: Jalen Hurts/Philadelphia/6-1 223 – New Head Coach Brian Daboll comes over from Buffalo and will want to find his own franchise quarterback. Is Daniel Jones the guy? I’m guessing Jones will get a chance to be the guy but the Giants might draft another potential “franchise” QB in the First Round on Thursday night. Who does Daboll like best? Will it be Kenny Pickett/Pitt (if available), Sam Howell/North Carolina, Matt Corral/Ole Miss, Carson Strong/Nevada, or Malik Willis/Liberty?
#8 Atlanta – Sam Howell/QB/North Carolina/6-1 220/NFL Comparison: Baker Mayfield/Cleveland/6-1 215 – Could there be a run on quarterbacks? You betcha. I see the Falcons taking Sam Howell, who compares to Baker Mayfield in both size and playmaking ability. Howell had a tremendous season for UNC rushing the ball in ’21 (828 yards -11 TD). The two years previously he had breakout seasons passing the ball (38 TD, 7 INT in ’19, 30-7 in ’20) . There was a time that the experts thought Howell might go #1 overall. To get him at #8 overall would be kind of like how the Bears snuck up to get Justin Fields at #11 overall last year.
#9 Seattle (from Denver for Russell Wilson) – Derek Stingley/CB/LSU/6-1 195/NFL Comparison: Stephon Gilmore/Indianapolis/6-1 190 – A few years ago Gilmore was known as the best cornerback in the NFL. Stingley is the kind of player that could become the best CB in the NFL soon. As a freshman at LSU, Stingley dominated to the point that many thought he might sit out the last two years of college so that he wouldn’t hurt his NFL draft stock. As it turned out, Stingley played only ten more games over his last two seasons and indeed played soft. His tackling was atrocious and he seemed to have lost focus. Stingley has a high ceiling and we could see Seattle going for him at #9 overall.
#10 N.Y. Jets (from Seatle) – Nakobe Dean/OLB/Georgia/5-11 225/NFL Comparison: Devin Bush/Pittsburgh/5-11 234 – A poor man’s Roquan Smith is still a pretty good football player. I like Nakobe. I love Roquan. Nakobe has a chance to be a good NFL player. Roquan has a chance to be a Hall of Famer. See the difference? Dean is fast and quick but undersized. He compares to Devin Bush on the Steelers because of his size.
#11 Washington – Garrett Wilson/WR/Ohio St./6-0 190/NFL Comparison: Devonta Smith/Philadelphia/6-0 170 – Getting the top receiver in this draft at #11 would be a steal for the Commanders. Is that their name again? Let’s go with Redskins so as not to confuse anyone. Wilson is a fantastic athlete who compares to Devonta Smith, the ’20 Heisman Trophy winner who was picked by Philadelphia last year at #10 overall. Wilson is about 20 pounds heavier and I’ll go so far as to say he’ll be better than Smith too. I watched Wilson with amazement for three years and he kept getting better. His hands and body control are elite. His numbers would have been better except for the fact that Ohio State had the best receiving corps in the country so they spread the ball around easily. Wilson is a stud and a fantastic player. Mark it down.
#12 Minnesota – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner/CB/Cincinnati/6-2 190/NFL Comparison: Richard Sherman/Tampa Bay/6-3 205 – “Sauce” would be much needed by a Vikings defense that has had issues developing and keeping solid cover corners.
#13 Houston (from Cleveland for DeShaun Watson) – Kyle Hamilton/S/Notre Dame/6-4 220/NFL Comparison: Minkah Fitzpatrick/Pittsburgh/6-1 207 – If Houston was able to nab both Thibodeaux and Hamilton in the first baker’s dozen picks, that would be amazing. One could argue they selected the best pass rusher and the best safety in this year’s class. That’s how you rebuild a defense quickly.
#14 Baltimore -DeMarvin Leal/DE/DT/Texas A&M/6-4 290/NFL Comparison: Cameron Jordan/New Orleans/6-4 287 – A great pick by Baltimore at this point in the draft to select an impact player at a position in which they are getting old.
#15 Philadelphia (from Miami) – David Ojabo/DE/Michigan/6-5 255/NFL Comparison: Leonard Floyd/OLB/L.A. Rams/6-5 240 – The Eagles need more pressure on the quarterback and a guy like David Ojabo would provide that for them. Ojabo had 11 sacks and 5 forced fumbles last year for the Wolverines.
#16 New Orleans (from Indianapolis via Philadelphia) – Jameson Williams/WR/Alabama/6-2 190/NFL Comparison: Marvin “Shade Tree” Jones/Jacksonville – Even though the Saints have Michael Thomas, they could use another receiver. Williams is a weapon from Alabama that used to be at Ohio St. before transferring.
#17 L.A. Chargers – Jordan Davis/DT/Georgia/6-6 340/NFL Comparison: Vita Vea/Tampa Bay/6-4 347 – I enjoy watching huge guys like Jordan Davis play in the trenches. At times, it’s like sumo wrestling. Davis is a tremendous athlete for a man of that size. At times, he dominates.
#18 Philadelphia (from New Orleans) – Daxton Hill/S/Michigan/6-0 190/NFL Comparison: Jimmie Ward/FS/San Francisco/5-11 195
#19 New Orleans (from Philadelphia) – Charles Cross/OT/Mississippi St./6-5 310/NFL Comparison: Trent Williams/OT/San Francisco/6-5 320 – Cross’s specialty is pass blocking, and Trent Williams is pretty good at that too. The Saints would love to get an OT like Williams at #19 overall.
#20 Pittsburgh – Devonte Wyatt/DT/Georgia/6-3 315/NFL Comparison: Larry Ogunjobi/Cincinnati/6-3 305
#21 New England – George Karlaftis/Edge/Purdue/6-4 270/NFL Comparison: Mike Vrabel/Retired/Pre-Draft measurable 6-4 270 – Couldn’t you see Bill Belichick draft Karlaftis and make him a star like he did with Mike Vrabel once upon a time? When does Karlaftis become an NFL head coach… maybe 2042?
#22 Green Bay (from Las Vegas for Devante Adams) – Treylon Burks/WR/Arkansas/6-3 220/NFL Comparison: A.J. Brown/Tennessee/6-1 226
#23 Arizona – Andrew Booth/CB/Clemson/6-0 195/NFL Comparison: Kyle Fuller/Denver/5-11 194
#24 Dallas – Jermaine Johnson/Edge/Florida St./6-5 255/NFL Comparison: Danielle Hunter/Minnesota/6-5 252
#25 Buffalo – Tyler Linderbaum/C/Iowa/6-3 290/NFL Comparison: Corey Linsley/L.A. Chargers/6-3 300
#26 Tennessee – Devin Lloyd/LB/Utah/6-3 230/NFL Comparison: Micah Parsons/Dallas/6-3 248
#27 Tampa Bay – Trent McDuffie/CB/Washington/5-11 195/NFL Comparison: Tre’Davious White/Buffalo/5-11 192
#28 Green Bay – Roger McCreary/CB/Auburn/6-0 185/NFL Comparison: Joe Haden/Pittsburgh/5-11 195
#29 Kansas City (from San Francisco via Miami) – Jahan Dotson/WR/Penn St./5-11 184/NFL Comparison: Tyler Lockett/Seattle/5-10 182 – Just what Kansas City needs to replace Tyreek Hill. Dotson is a small, quick, big-play wide receiver. Dotson scored 26 touchdowns in his last 34 games for the Nittany Lions. Mahomes will love Dotson’s run-after-catch ability.
#30 Kansas City – Trevor Penning/OT/Northern Iowa/6-7 330/NFL Comparison: Kaleb McGary/OT/Atlanta/6-6 306
#31 Cincinnati – Kyler Gordon/CB/Washington/6-0 200/NFL Comparison: Xavien Howard/CB/Miami/6-1 198
#32 Detroit (from L.A. Rams for Matthew Stafford) – Drake London/WR/USC/6-5 210/NFL Comparison: DK Metcalf/Seattle/6-4 235
Chicago Bears 2022 Mock Draft (6 Selections)
Round 2 (#39 Overall) – Christian Watson/WR/North Dakota State/6-4 210/NFL Comparison: A.J. Green/Arizona/6-4 210 – How long have we been talking about weapons? The last time the Bears had good weapons on offense was from 2012-’14 when Jay Cutler was throwing the ball to wideouts Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery along with Matt Forte in the backfield. Ever since, Chicago has never had enough playmaking weapons. Now that the Bears are building around young QB Justin Fields, it’s time to surround him with guys who can make plays. Christian Watson could be that guy. He’s tall at 6-4. However, at present he’s thin and will most likely need to add some weight. Watson is listed at the same size as long-time NFL playmaker A.J. Green. Could the Bears use a guy like that? I’ve seen mock drafts with Watson going as high as #22 to Green Bay, #30 to Kansas City, or #43 to Atlanta, so there’s a chance he’s available for the Bears at #39. Hopefully he falls to Chicago. If he’s gone, we suggest someone like George Pickens/WR/Georgia/6-3 205 or David Bell/WR/Purdue/6-2 210. This is the most important thing for Poles to get in this Draft, a guy that Fields can start growing with and trusting as his premier pass catcher.
Round 2 (#48 Overall – from L.A. Chargers for Khalil Mack) – Derion Kendrick/CB/Georgia/6-0 194/NFL Comparison: Trevon Diggs/Dallas/6-1 204 – I have a gut feeling that Ryan Poles might be drawn to Kendrick’s high upside and ball skills. New HC Matt Eberflus prides himself on his defensive system which stresses takeaways. Similar to Kendrick’s NFL comp Trevon Diggs, Kendrick profiles as a player that might take chances on interceptions and has the hands to complete the task. Kendrick was recruited by Clemson to play wide receiver in college but then he switched to the defensive side of the ball. After transferring to Georgia and helping the Bulldogs win the National Championship last year, Kendrick finished his college career with 7 interceptions, 14 passes broken up, and 102 tackles in 39 career games as a cornerback. Kendrick’s upside is intriguing. He fits better as a zone corner which is perfect for Eberflus’s Cover 2 zone defensive scheme. From the pages of DTP’s 2022 NFL Draft Guide by Daniel Parlegreco, “Very good ball skills, partly since he played receiver, showing impressive and natural abilities to track the ball down the field and go vertical and high-point it. Kendrick has tremendous upside, considering he is relatively new to the position. He’s only going to get better and better. His movement skills and fiery nature will make draft evaluators love his ceiling”.
Round 3 (#71 Overall) – Cam Jurgens/C/Nebraska/6-3 303/NFL Comparison: Jason Kelce/C/Philadelphia/6-3 295 – One of the Bears biggest weaknesses for many years has been the offensive line. New GM Ryan Poles is a former offensive linemen himself and you just know he wants nothing more than to mold the Bears line in his image. He’s sure to be motivated to improve Chicago’s line to be a perennial strength of the team rather than a weakness. Everything I’ve read about Poles and new Head Coach Matt Eberflus is that they value smaller, quicker offensive linemen for their scheme. Cameron Jurgens started his college career as a tight end coming out of high school. Nebraska Cornhuskers Head Coach Scott Frost thought Jurgens would make a great offensive center because of his skillset including his agility, quickness, and leg strength. Therefore, for the good of the team and his own personal long-term projections, Jurgens made the switch. According to Lindy’s Pro Football Draft ’22 Magazine, Jurgens has prototype status in his “Initial Quickness” skillset. “Centers with truly elite quickness aren’t all that common, but Jurgens has it. He has special burst out of his stance, and it allows him to hit angles that most blockers can’t attempt”. “Beef Jurgy”, as he’s known in draft circles since the Combine, did have some snapping troubles back in ’19 and ’20 but cleaned that up last season. I foresee Poles scouting Jurgens hard after his impressive combine performance which included an impressive 4.92 40 yard dash time, which was the 3rd fastest time for an offensive linemen this year. Jurgens profiles similarly to NFL All-Pro Jason Kelce, who also made the transition from another position, and who also put up the fastest 40 yard dash (4.89 seconds) out of all offensive linemen in his NFL Combine which was in 2011. Kelce became a four time 1st Team All-Pro with the Eagles. Can Jurgens duplicate that career with Chicago? Poles sure hopes so.
Round 5 (#148 Overall) – (ANY OF THE FOLLOWING LINEBACKERS who might fall to the 5th Round): Brandon Smith/MLB/Penn St./6-3 240, Jack Sanborn/MLB/Wisconsin/6-2 240, Damone Clark/SLB/LSU/6-3 245, Jeremiah Moon/SLB/Florida/6-4 250, JoJo Domann/LB/Nebraska/6-1 230/NFL Comparison: Luke Gifford/Dallas/6-3 242, or Mike Rose/SLB/Iowa St./6-4 250/NFL Comparison: Tremaine Edmunds/Buffalo/6-5 250 – Eberflus is switching the Bears base defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Roquan Smith might technically move from the middle (or one of two ILB’s in the 3-4) to the weakside (WILL or WLB) in this style of defense. When Eberflus was DC in Indianapolis, he used All-Pro Darius Leonard as his WLB. He now figures to play Roquan in that same role. Robert Quinn will now be termed a DE rather than an OLB. In other words, the Bears might need one or two more starting linebackers that play like true linebackers rather than edge pass rushers. Therefore, Chicago has already signed Nicholas Morrow (6-0 225) who figures to start at one of the three LB spots. Consequently, the Bears need another starting LB. If they take a guy like Mike Rose, he’ll be a fit at the strong side position (SAM) who typically is a heavier LB who lines up near the opposing TE. If they select a lighter LB, he might play MLB or even WLB with Roquan back at MLB. Get it? Yeah, it’s confusing but basically the Bears need to draft a linebacker who they can develop to be a playmaker along with Roquan at the second level of the defense. Whoever should drop to Pick 148 from out of my list above would be a great choice for Ryan Poles to add to a rebuilding defense.
Round 5 (#150 Overall) – Spencer Burford/OT/UTSA/6-4 295/NFL Comparison: Jamarco Jones/OT/Seattle/6-4 293 – Burford is a smaller tackle who might fit into Poles system. Lindy’s notes that Burford is “quick out of his stance” and has a “nasty mentality [that] leads to some impressive finishes”. Poles reportedly wants some tough guys on his new line that will protect Fields with an attitude. Maybe Burford can provide some of that as a developmental swing tackle prospect.
Round 6 (#186 Overall) – Haskell Garrett/DT/Ohio St./6-2 300/NFL Comparison: Quinnen Williams/DT/N.Y. Jets/6-3 303 – The Bears have lost Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Khalil Mack, and Bilal Nichols this offseason. So who’s going to play on the D-Line? With the new-look 4-3 returning to Chicago, the base starters look to be Robert Quinn and Trevis Gipson at the D-End spots with Khyiris Tonga at the 1 technique (Nose Tackle) and Justin Jones at the 3 technique for the D-Tackle positions. The Bears certainly need to add depth and talent at most positions but certainly on the defensive line with all of the outgoing players. If the Bears could get a guy like Haskell Garrett out of OSU, they’d be lucky. He’s a high-character team leader who’s currently pegged for the 4th or 5th round. If he falls to the Bears with their last selection being in the 6th Round, Poles should nab him, or grab another overlooked D-Linemen who may have fallen in the Draft.
Best Bets to have successful NFL careers
- Aidan Hutchinson/DE/Michigan
- Garrett Wilson/WR/Ohio St.
- Kyle Hamilton/S/Notre Dame
- Kayvon Thibodeaux/DE/Oregon
- Devin Lloyd/LB/Utah
- Andrew Booth/CB/Clemson
- Channing Tindall/LB/Georgia
- Jordan Davis – I love this guy, but his 340 pound weight portends a short career.
- Kenny Pickett and probably all the QB’s – Many will be drafted but I don’t think any of them are that good. If I had to pick one QB this year, it would be Sam Howell and he’d probably be my only one. As for Pickett, he had only one really good college season.
My Favorite Players in this Draft:
- Jack Sorenson/WR/Miami (Ohio)/6-0 195 – My guy from Stevenson. I love this kid!
- Zamir “Zeus” White/RB/Georgia/6-0 215 – Zeus is another great kid. He plays with passion and his history with overcoming speech impediments because of his cleft lip and palate is inspirational.
- Garrett Wilson/WR/Ohio St./6-0 190 – The best player in this year’s Draft? Extreme body control.
- Wan’Dale Robinson/WR/Kentucky/5-11 185 – I love Wan’Dale. He might be the best Slot Receiver in this year’s Draft.
- Samori Toure/WR/Nebraska/6-1 191
- Skylar Thompson/QB/Kansas St./6-2 220
- JoJo Domann/LB/Nebraska/6-1 230 – A super versatile player, I think Domann will have a solid NFL career as a hybrid LB/Safety/slot cover corner. He excelled in this role in Eric Chinander’s Huskers defense.
- Cam Taylor-Britt/CB/Nebraska/6-0 205 – Taylor-Britt has the attitude to play corner in the NFL. He has confidence, physicality, and athleticism to be a starter in the League.
Thank you! Outside of watching as many games as I can each and every football season, I also read everything I can find either online or in print. My main print subscriptions include Sports Illustrated, Huskers Illustrated, Hail Varsity, Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Athlon’s, Street & Smith’s, and Kenny White’s. My main online sources include ESPN, Fantrax, Sporting News, CBS, SI, College Football News, Yahoo, USA Today, RotoWire, RotoWorld, 247Sports, Rivals, DevyWatch, Pro Football Focus, Football Outsiders, HuskerMax, SB Nation, Saturday Tradition, and Saturday Down South. I want to thank my main sources of information for this particular article which were Lindy’s Pro Football Draft 2022, Athlon’s 2022 NFL Draft Guide, and Daniel Parlegreco’s DTP’s 2022 NFL Draft Guide. Thank you for all the hard work!