Chicago Bears 2022 Draft
Matt Eberflus will get a trial by fire when it comes to being a first-time NFL head coach when he takes over with the Chicago Bears this season. While he will have the luxury of inheriting a first-round pick at quarterback in Justin Fields, Eberflus will need to find a way to help guide Fields in the right direction. Fields’ rookie time was stymied by splitting time with veteran Andy Dalton as well as injury issues.
Fields had his share of growing pains when he was on the field, passing for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns against 10 interceptions. As a whole, Chicago was worn down by the season laced with dysfunction with the former front office and head coach. The Bears started 3-2 before falling apart in the middle of the season en route to a 6-11 season.
But the good news for Bears fans and first-year General Manager Ryan Poles is that Chicago has plenty of cap space to start to remake the team’s image. Chicago has $26 million available and could clear more space during this offseason if they choose to do so. The Bears would like to be able to find the proper mix to be major players in what could be a wide-open NFC North over the next few seasons.
Players Leaving the Chicago Bears
Wide receiver Allen Robinson has a desire to win and will be heading outside of Chicago to try and find a new home. Robinson, who went over 1,000 yards receiving for the Bears in both 2019 and 2020, saw his production nosedive thanks to Chicago’s ever-worsening quarterback situation last season. Thanks also in part to Robinson missing five games due to injuries, he finished the season with 410 receiving yards on 38 catches where he only caught one touchdown pass.
No one is going to be building Dalton a statue in Chicago, but he had a few memorable moments when he was in the starting lineup. However, the Bears will likely let the veteran walk and not try to retain the unrestricted free agent. Dalton passed for 1,515 yards with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions last season.
Nose tackle Eddie Goldman may be a cap casualty once the dead period ends. Goldman, who saw a drop in his stats in 2021, isn’t a personnel match with what Eberflus likes to do on defense as Chicago will move from 3-4 to a 4-3. Cutting Goldman before June 1 would save the Bears $6 million.
Tight end Jimmy Graham is getting toward the end of his shelf life as an NFL-level player. After the Bears paid $8 million for Graham last year in a season where he caught 14 passes for 167 yards. Expect Chicago to let Graham walk.
Positions Needed by the Chicago Bears
Chicago will need to find help on the offensive line — stop me if you’ve heard that about an NFL team this offseason — especially at the tackle positions. However, the Bears’ struggles up front weren’t limited to one position or group. Chicago gave up a league-high 58 sacks last season. The Bears will also need to have a sense of urgency because they only have one interior starting lineman — Cody Whitehair — currently under contract.
Fields developed a strong rapport with Darnell Mooney last season at wide receiver, but the Bears are pretty bare the position otherwise. Chicago has three wide receivers heading toward free agency with the most prominent of the bunch — Robinson — likely heading to another home. The Bears need to find weapons who can take the burden off Fields.
Chicago could also use help on the back end of its defense. Eddie Jackson is the only safety the Bears have under contract. Chicago will need to find someone to start opposite of him and help provide playmaking ability. The Bears could also use help at safety and linebacker.
Chicago Bears Mock Draft
Poles may have to do most of his fishing in free agency. Rebuilding a franchise will take some time as the first-year General Manager will only have five draft picks and none in the first round. Without trading up, Chicago won’t be selecting until pick No. 39, which will limit what the Bears can hope to accomplish in some ways.
However, what the Bears can do is grab help for its secondary. Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary should be available in the second round and showed plenty of play-making ability with the Tigers. In 2021, McCreary made 49 tackles (41 solo), recorded a sack, fumble recovery, and broke up 41 passes. McCreary also intercepted two passes and returned one for a score.
In the third round, Chicago could maneuver to get a wide receiver like John Metchie III from Alabama. Metchie, who is 6-foot tall, isn’t the biggest wide receiver but was a consistent target with the Crimson Tide. Metchie caught 96 passes for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021 for Alabama.
Chicago will also be without fourth- and seventh-round picks due to trading them away. The Bears will try to add a few offensive line prospects in the later rounds. Ohio State tackle Thayer Munford could slide as low as the fifth round and would be a good fit. He is a 6-5, 325 pounds tackle who moved inside to help the Buckeyes out in 2021.
2022 NFL Draft Event Information
- Date: Thursday, Apr. 28th (Round 1) | Friday, Apr. 29th (Rounds 2-3) | Saturday, Apr. 30th (Rounds 4-7)
- Time: 8 p.m. ET (Thursday) | 7 p.m. ET (Friday) | Noon ET (Saturday)
- Location: Allegiant Stadium, Paradise, NV
- TV Channel: ABC | ESPN | NFL Network
- NFL Draft Live Streaming: NFL Game Pass
2022 NFL First-Round Draft Order (with 2021 records)
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- NY Jets
- NY Giants
- Carolina Panthers
- NY Giants (via Bears)
- Atlanta Falcons
- Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos)
- NY Jets (via Seahawks)
- Washington Commanders
- Minnesota Vikings
- Houston Texans (via Browns)
- Baltimore Ravens
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins)
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts)
- LA Chargers
- New Orleans Saints
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- New England Patriots
- Green Bay Packers (via Raiders)
- Arizona Cardinals
- Dallas Cowboys
- Buffalo Bills
- Tennessee Titans
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Green Bay Packers
- Kansas City Chiefs (via 49ers)
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Detroit Lions (via Rams)
Teams with no First Round Pick
- San Francisco 49ers
- Chicago Bears
- Denver Broncos
- Cleveland Browns
- Indianapolis Colts
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Los Angeles Rams
- Miami Dolphins