The Chicago Bears selected two defensive backs with their first two picks of the 2022 NFL draft, with the hope that both will become Week 1 starters.
Chicago chose Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon (No. 39 overall) and Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker (No. 48 overall) in Round 2, which some analysts found head-scratching considering the team’s glaring needs on offensive line and at wide receiver.
Still, the Bears also needed significant support in the secondary, and adding both Gordon and Brisker should help re-vamp the entire unit — if they can both stay healthy, that is.
Bears insider Adam Hoge of CHGO Sports recapped what he gleaned from the team’s rookie minicamp, which was held from May 6-8. One thing Hoge mentioned was an “unsettling” moment on the first day that saw Gordon exit practice.
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Gordon Left His First Practice After Dealing With Cramping Issues
The rookie corner came up limping during an 11-on-11 drill, and while he tried to return shortly after, he wound up missing the remainder of the team’s first rookie minicamp practice. Gordon did return to practice the following day on May 7, according to the Chicago Tribune, but his early exit wasn’t the best way for the team’s first overall pick this year to start things off.
“With the Bears’ injury history with key draft picks, it was unsettling to see Gordon deal with cramps at rookie minicamp. If that’s all it was, then no big deal,” Hoge wrote on May 10.
“Gordon just had cramps,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said when asked about the rookie CB on May 6. “He was out there, started practice, had a couple of cramps. So, we’ll just get him hydrated and get him ready for tomorrow.”
There’s no indication it was anything other than a cramping issue, but it’s still something to monitor moving forward.
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Bears Haven’t Had Best Luck With Top Draft Picks in Recent Years
When Hoge referenced the team’s luck when it comes to key draft picks dealing with injury issues, he made a solid point.
Over the last seven years, Chicago has selected several players, including receiver Kevin White (No. 7 overall in 2015), second-round tight end Adam Shaheen (45th overall in 2017), third-round center Hroniss Grasu (71st overall in 2015) and second-round offensive tackle Teven Jenkins (39th overall in 2021), who have seen various ailments prevent their careers from taking off.
The jury is still out on Jenkins, who had back surgery as a rookie last year and wound up starting just two games. It’s not fair to judge his career yet, but the other three players can safely be deemed busts when considering their on-field production coupled with their draft position.
White is the most notable of the three, as he was a top 10 pick. The former West Virginia standout missed his entire rookie year dealing with a stress fracture in his leg and he suffered both a severe high ankle sprain and fractured fibula the following season in 2016. White wound up playing in 17 games in his three seasons active with the Bears, starting five. He caught 25 passes for 285 yards, and while he had brief stints with the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints after Chicago let him go in 2018, they never amounted to much.
Shaheen also dealt with various injury issues in Chicago, playing in 27 regular season games and starting 13 out of a possible 48. He caught just 26 passes for 249 yards and four touchdowns with the Bears before he was ultimately released in 2019.
Grasu tore the ACL in his right knee prior to the start of his second season in 2016, and he didn’t play at all that year. He started 12 games out of a possible 32 for Chicago in the two seasons he was active, and he has started two games in the four years since.
Again, there’s no reason to be alarmed about Gordon leaving his first-ever practice with cramps, but considering the team’s recent luck in that department, Hoge may have found the perfect word in “unsettling.”