The 2022 NFL draft kicks off on April 28, and the Chicago Bears will be an intriguing team to monitor.
The Bears have more needs than they do draft picks, and in addition to having just two wideouts under contract heading into the 2022 season (Darnell Mooney and Dazz Newsome), their offensive line has multiple holes and their secondary could use a significant boost.
Chicago doesn’t own a pick in the first round this year, with its first overall selection coming in the second round at No. 39. They also have picks in Round 3 (71st overall), the fifth round (they have two in this round — No. 147, via the Houston Texans, along with No. 149) and a sixth rounder (184 overall).
With multiple issues that exist primarily on offense, the Bears have been warned not to overlook shoring up the defense at the expense of surrounding young quarterback Justin Fields with talent.
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Bears Need Cornerback Help, Stat
Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report doesn’t want Chicago to forget about the other side of the ball in the upcoming draft, and he has a point.
Here’s his argument:
New general manager Ryan Poles can’t improve the offense at the expense of the defense. Of the teams searching for a new staff this offseason, Chicago was one of the most intriguing because of Fields and the Bears’ top-10 defense. However, holes could emerge in the unit since Akiem Hicks, Alec Ogletree and Tashaun Gipson Sr. are pending free agents. Also, cornerback was already a concern because the team didn’t feature a consistent performer beyond Jaylon Johnson. The Bears don’t own a first-round pick after they traded up to pick Fields last year. Still, they can take a meticulous approach to fill other needs depending on which prospects are available.
Corner should be a top priority for Chicago, either in the draft or during free agency. Johnson will be entering his third season, and would greatly benefit from having a reliable cover man on the other side. Cornerback isn’t the team’s only need, however.
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Bears Could Also Use Linebacker, D-Linemen
With veterans Danny Trevathan and Eddie Goldman potential cap casualties this offseason, it wouldn’t hurt the Bears to scour the draft for their replacements.
In addition to Hicks, Chicago could also lose free agent defensive lineman Bilal Nichols, so ignoring defense on draft day isn’t something new GM Poles and defensive-minded head coach Matt Eberflus are wont to do.
Ignoring the team’s needs on defense will also ultimately be detrimental to Fields, regardless of the weapons he may get. More harm than good could come from a second-year QB feeling pressured to put up 30-35 points a game because his porous defense can’t make a stop.
We’ll see how it goes, but this is one piece of advice the Bears should take when the draft rolls around.