Chicago Bears 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Pre-Free Agency Edition

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The Chicago Bears have been more active than most expected, making a flurry of roster moves, courtesy of first-year general manager Ryan Poles. Heading into the 2022 offseason, the Bears have a number of needs but just five picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. In an effort to acquire additional picks, Poles shipped off star pass rusher Khalil Mack for a 2022 second-round pick and 2023 sixth-round pick.

For those keeping score at home, the Bears are currently slated to have a total of six draft picks in April. Two second-round picks,39th and 48th overall, 71st overall, 147th and 149th overall, and 184th overall. After the second round, that’s one pick in the third round, two picks in the fifth round, and one pick in the sixth round.

The extra pick makes a difference for the Bears. Chicago will have the opportunity to address key positions such as offensive line and wide receiver, finding long-term building blocks that will be crucial to building around second-year quarterback Justin Fields. The remainder of the draft can be used to select low-risk, high-reward type of players.

Let’s get into an updated mock draft with free agency set to begin this week.

Round Two, 39th overall: IOL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

Figuring out the offensive line will be the biggest priority for the Bears this offseason and adding Kenyon Green, one of the top-rated interior offensive line prospects. Green has started 35 games since his freshman season in 2019 but 2021 was his best season to date. Besides his experience, Green brings versatility to the table, having played left and right guard, and left tackle.

Green’s true play style is shown on tape as a nasty and physical offensive lineman who’s going to impose his will. He possesses a solid anchor and is a solid pass protector, often setting the tone on each rep. A major strength of Green’s is being able to use a defenders momentum against them, allowing Green to win each matchup.

Overall, what the Bears would be getting in Green is a prospect who can set the tone and play multiple positions on the offensive line, giving the Bears a long-term building block who will be the face of the offensive line for years to come.

Round Two, 48th overall: WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State

A hot name that’s quickly gaining momentum among the Bears fanbase, had Christian Watson been a division one prospect, there likely would’ve been more hype surrounding him. On paper, Watson’s 6-foot-5, 208-pound frame would suggest he’s merely a Z receiver but Watson is much more than that.

In an era where speed continues to dominate, Watson’s speed is top notch, a rare trait for a player his size. His route running is solid but Watson also possesses good hands, the ability to separate, and great ball skills. These were all evident watching his 2021 film and for a player from a solid school. Watson should see the field relatively early in his NFL career and burst onto the scene with consistent quarterback play.

Fields is more favorable in the passing game when wide receivers are asked to vertically stretch the field and considering the state of the Bears roster, Watson would be a perfect complement for wide receiver Darnell Mooney, while also being able to maximize Fields potential in the passing game.

Round Three, 71st overall: WR John Metchie III, Alabama

There is skepticism surrounding John Metchie III, who continues to recover from a torn ACL sustained in December, and while his status for 2022 is unknown, Metchie’s upside is too good to pass up on. What sticks out regarding Metchie is his route running. His ability to manipulate defenders while creating separation allows him to win one-on-one matchups.

In the context of the Bears’ offense, Metchie’s best fit would be as a receiver in the intermediate passing game. He doesn’t have the speed to stretch the field vertically like some of his counterparts in this draft class but he is a solid enough receiver who wins with route running, separation, and versatility, being able to play both inside the slot and on the line of scrimmage.

The medicals remain a clear hurdle for Metchie but his final season at Alabama showed his ability to be an asset for any offense. If a team is willing to wait it out a bit, Metchie could pay off big time.

Round Five, 147th overall: LB Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin

The Bears need to add some LB depth this offseason and taking a chance on a player like Jack Sanborn in the fifth round could be the perfect low-risk, high-reward kind of draft pick for head coach Matt Eberflus. As the Bears continue to transition to a 4-3 defense, fifth-year LB Roquan Smith will likely move to playing WILL LB, giving the Bears the need for a true MIKE LB.

Sanborn won’t start on day one but he could certainly be a future starter. He plays with a high motor, showcases relentless pursuit of ball carriers, and is a physical and hard-hitting LB who is also instinctive. In coverage, there are some question marks about whether or not Sanborn can really hold up, which means Sanborn will need a strong secondary to ensure he doesn’t get exposed.

Overall, Sanborn is a lot like former Bears LB Nick Kwiatkoski, who was a tough and physical playmaker but was limited due to his inability to hold up for prolonged periods of time in pass coverage.

Round Five, 149th overall: CB Chase Lucas, Arizona State

The Bears need to figure out the CB position and figure out who’s going to be playing opposite Jaylon Johnson. One name that should gain more traction among Bears fans is Arizona State’s very own Chase Lucas, who can play both man and zone coverage.

Furthermore, Lucas can operate both on the boundary but also play in the slot if needed. This versatility should intrigue Eberflus, whose scheme requires a solid slot CB. Length isn’t necessarily a major attribute of Lucas’ but he does have 31-inch arms, and slick hip, allowing him to change directions with ease.

What sticks out most about Lucas is his willingness to tackle. This doesn’t mean he’s a thumper by any means but he does more than enough to get the job done in this department. Overall, Lucas does have some untapped potential the Bears need to look into. Considering Eberflus’ track record developing defensive backs, Lucas could burst onto the scene rather quickly.

Round Six, 184th overall: IDL Haskell Garrett, Ohio State

In Eberflus’ defense, the Bears will need to find a true 3-techinque defensive tackle who can anchor the middle of the offensive line. Haskell Garrett is a name that’s flown under the radar, and a late-round addition that could make sense for Chicago.

Garrett’s ability to continue fighting through double teams indicates his power and high motor. As a player who excels in a one-gap system, his explosive first step often sees him getting into the backfield quicker than anyone and blowing up plays. Garrett’s athleticism is limited ut his effort is noticeable as a player who could quickly become a rotational player at the next level.

The Bears will need to continue building up the defensive line and Garrett is a player that could excel quickly in Eberflus’ scheme considering his explosive first step, run defending, and power at the point of attack.

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