As the Chicago Bears appear to be on the outside looking in for a playoff spot, it’s time for a 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Before we get into all the fun, there are a few things to note. First, the Bears don’t have a first or fourth-round pick in 2022 due to the Justin Fields trade. Second, compensatory picks are not factored into the mock draft below. Third, these are merely projections and nothing is finalized, so if your favorite player isn’t listed below, don’t worry, that’s what future editions are for.
Let’s get into all the madness.
1) Round 2, 37th overall: David Bell, WR, Purdue
Allen Robinson is likely to hit free agency and the only wide receiver under contract that’s expected to be on the Bears roster in 2022 is speedster Darnell Mooney. That means a high pick needs to be spent on a wide receiver to invest for Justin Fields’ sake, investing in the Bears’ future.
Bell has quickly emerged as one of the biggest risers of this draft cycle. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Bell has everything needed to become a star wide receiver at the NFL level. He’s got the perfect combination of size and physicality. Don’t question Bell’s hands either, which have shown to be comparable to glue all throughout the 2021 season.
As a route runner, Bell has proven that while he may not be overly flashy, he does just enough to win due to his instincts. As he makes the jump to the NFL, expect to see him grow in this area to become a more complete wide receiver after lining up as an X, Z, and slot receiver in college.
Overall, Bell has the potential to develop into a quality wide receiver at the next level and the Bears should pull the trigger if he’s on the board in the second round.
2) Round 3, 78th overall: Jermaine Waller, CB, Virginia Tech
Much has been made of the Bears secondary this season, with Eddie Jackson and Jaylon Johnson being the only two players who should be guaranteed starting roles in 2021. The Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley experiments have failed, meaning the Bears need to find a running mate for Johnson.
Waller is an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on. At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, length is apparent in Waller’s frame as is his coverage ability, operating at a high level in both man and zone coverage. Having started 23 games since 2018, experience isn’t an issue for the Hokies cornerback, who should be a day one starter for the Bears.
Ball production isn’t an issue for Waller either, who has four interceptions and five pass breakups in 2021, including a pick-six against Notre Dame. Healthwise, Waller played just two games in 2020 due to arm and foot injuries. However, he’s rebounded nicely and put together a solid 2021 campaign.
3) Round 5, 148th overall: Obinna Eze, OT, TCU
Much of the Bears’ offensive line for 2022 is already set, with Cody Whitehair, Teven Jenkins, and Larry Borom set to return. What happens with interior offensive lineman James Daniels and Sam Mustipher remains to be seen but adding to the offensive line means investing in Justin Fields.
As a mid-round prospect who can develop into a potential starter down the road, Eze is a name to watch. Eze’s 6-foot-8, 334-pound frame is hard to ignore, as are his 25 consecutive starts. Eze’s arm length is apparent when watching him on film, as is his ability to keep pass rushers from getting around him easily.
Eze excels as a run blocker, where he’s able to climb to the second level with ease but the lack of flexibility is prevalent in Eze’s large frame, something that is holding him back from becoming a true pass protector.
4) Round 6, 184th overall: Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State
Doubling down on CB might not be a bad idea for a secondary that needs a total makeover. Chase Lucas has flown under the radar in 2021 but is a name to keep an eye on. On tape, Lucas’ athleticism, tackling ability, and route recognition are prevalent. Perhaps the most underrated quality of his is the ability to play on the outside or move to the slot, a quality that should benefit him at the next level.
Lucas may not be overly flashy by any means but the willingness to tackle and locate the football with ease is prevalent in his game. Lucas’ length (6-foot-0, 185 pounds) and footwork are prevalent as a player who continues to be highly consistent.
Lucas may be flying under the radar but when the NFL scouting combine takes place in the Spring, don’t be surprised to see one of the faces of Arizona State’s secondary become one of the biggest risers during this draft season.