Other than mock drafts, the Chicago Bears will have to wait a day to participate in the NFL Draft that begins on April 28. As it currently stands, their first selection will not come until April 29 the 39th overall pick. It’s a reminder of just how bad things got necessitating a regime change spearheaded by general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus.
They are facing the daunting task of building out a thin roster without a first-round pick. The idea of landing a top-tier wide receiver prospect in this class sounds good. But it would require the board falling just right or a trade-up meaning giving up more draft capital.
With that in mind, this mock draft using Pro Football Focus’ Mock Draft Simulator lays a solid foundation for the Bears and, most importantly, second-year quarterback Justin Fields.
Justin Fields Gets Protection and Weapons in Chicago Bears Mock Draft
Pick No. 39 – Kyler Gordon – CB – Washington
We were tempted to take a wide receiver. But the drop-off in cornerbacks is steeper from the second round on than most will acknowledge. At the risk of missing out on a top target for Fields, the defense gets attention with the University of Washington’s Kyler Gordon, a 6-foot defender with experience inside and out.
The Bears signed Tavon Young this offseason but he is best suited to play inside at nickelback (when healthy). Their options opposite Jaylon Johnson on the outside are less than inspiring between Kindle Vildor, Duke Shelley, and second-year man Thomas Graham who appeared in each of the final four games of last season, starting one.
Gordon fills one of two massive holes in a defense that ranked 29th in passing touchdowns allowed, 29th in interceptions, and 30th in passing yards allowed.
A First Team All Pac-12 selection last season, Gordon has all of the physical tools to be a solid starting cornerback. He will need to work on the technical aspects to hone his craft. But he fits the bill of a long, rangy corner with a wingspan nearing 75 inches and a 4.5 40-yard dash time.
Versatile enough to fit in any type of scheme, Gordon could benefit from playing in the Bears new zone-based defense.
Keeping the play in front of him should help to reduce the chance for missed reads and allows him to play fast.
Pick No. 48 (via LAC) – Christian Watson – WR – North Dakota State
This was not unexpected, to be very honest. Many outlets have the Bears selecting a wide receiver at the top of the draft. Some have them taking multiple pass-catchers in this draft. Christian Watson has been projected to go as high as the back end of the first round thanks to a stellar showing at the Senior Bowl. There are concerns over his competition and drop issues.
Treylon Burks was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 25th overall selection in our simulation. He would have been the top option if available. Georgia’s George Pickens was also a consideration but we chose to pass on the injury concerns.
At 6-foot-4 and running a 4.3, Watson solves a couple of significant issues for the Bears who added 6-foot-5 Allen Lazard as well as 6-foot-1 Byron Pringle this offseason.
Watson’s ceiling is higher than both players who are only in Chicago on one-year deals this season. We bypassed another popular prospect in Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce to take Watson because of the latter’s superior field-stretching ability. Pierce could have easily been the choice, though, given his superior production against superior competition.
But if we are trying to project ceilings – which is all the draft boils down to – then Watson is the choice as Poles delivers on his mission to get Fields a premier target beating the second run on the position.
Pick No. 71 – Dylan Parham – G – Memphis
We couldn’t go any longer without addressing the offensive line. But this does not feel like picking from leftovers by any stretch. Dylan Parham comes with a background as a tight end and linebacker as well as having lettered in basketball and track. The dude is an athlete and would seem to fit in offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme on that alone.
Parham played right tackle and both guard spots in college. He finished his career at right guard, where the Bears happen to have a massive hole.
Dakota Dozier is unofficially penciled in as the starter. But he and the 2021 starting center, Sam Mustipher, rotated at the position during OTAs and neither inspires much confidence. Parham could come in and be the best option immediately.
He also comes from a spread scheme that featured a lot of RPOs so he should be able to adapt to a scheme built around Fields’ talents and keep big defensive tackles off of his lap.
Round 5: No. 148 – Isaiah Likely – TE – Coastal Carolina
We got a little spicy with this pick (which hurt our final grade in PFF’s eyes) and went for another weapon for Fields, but in a different package with tight end Isaiah Likely of Coastal Carolina. Likely is a 6-foot-5 former wide-receiver-turned-tight-end who exploded onto radars with a strong showing at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
.@CoastalFootball TE Isaiah Likely has been extremely productive as a pass catcher but don't forget about him as a blocker! When he gets up to the 2nd / 3rd level he has some huge highlights – really fun study #TEALnation #StrikeTheStone #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/CsEDwkjPRD
— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) October 14, 2021
This could have been Maryland’s Chigoziem Okonkwo who tore up the NFL Combine. But his size has led to rumblings of a move to fullback for Okonkwo. That pushed us towards a player that has been favorably compared to Green Bay Packers tight end, Robert Tonyan, whom Getsy is familiar with.
Likely provides a higher upside as a threat up the seams than third-year Bears tight end, Cole Kmet, and then some.
Round 5: No. 150 (from HOU) – Tycen Anderson – S – Toledo
We tried to maximize each one and address the secondary for a second time with Toledo safety, Tycen Anderson. A terrific athlete, Anderson posted the 24th-best relative athletic score (RAS) out of 778 combine invitees dating back to 1987. There are questions about his fit as he spent much of his time in college as a big nickel. But he has enough experience and the requisite athleticism for both safety spots.
Chicago currently has former All-Pro Eddie Jackson at one safety spot and vowing to be better than last season. But the other safety spot is set to be manned by career special-teamer, DeAndre Houston-Carson with only former Tennessee Titans special teamer, Dane Cruikshank behind them.
Round 6: No. 186 – Joshua Ezeudu – G – North Carolina
With the Bears final pick, we double-dipped on the offensive line and took North Carolina’s versatile Joshua Ezeudu. That versatility is what makes him most attractive here because, while he has adequate athleticism, it is unclear if he could move well enough while getting stronger at the point of attack. At worst, he projects to be capable of filling in at both tackle and guard. But he could turn into a replacement option for Whitehair who has two years left on his contract.
2022 Chicago Bears Mock Draft
We did not make any trade despite all of the smoke surrounding the Bears and such a move. There is simply no telling what another team will do. This mock still left the Bears filling numerous holes with both ready-made and developmental pieces.