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2022 Bears mock draft: Thinking outside the box

Is there a need on the roster that Bears fans aren’t talking about enough?

Alabama v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine is officially upon us, with prospects already down in Indianapolis and workouts just one day away from kicking off.

It’s one of the most fun times of the NFL offseason, and after not having a Combine last year, it sure is nice to be able to have it back. The medicals and interviews are the most important part of the week, but especially for those of us on the outside of these organizations, the on-field workouts are always a treat to watch.

With one of the biggest weeks of the pre-draft process upon us, I thought now would be as good of a time as any for another Bears mock draft.

I decided to use The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator for this latest mock, as I thought it would be a fun idea to mix up which service I use when making these articles.

Without further ado, let’s dig into our latest 7-round Bears 2022 mock draft.

Round 2: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M

I know what you’re thinking. That’s not related to the fact that I have the Bears taking a defensive lineman in Round 2. I have psychic mind powers.

Is a 3-technique the biggest need on the Bears’ roster right now? No, but if Bilal Nichols leaves in free agency, it certainly will be a need. DeMarvin Leal has fallen down boards a bit, but his physical upside is still at a Pro Bowl-caliber level. He’s an explosive athlete with a rare combination of size, speed and strength, along with top-notch versatility up front. If he falls to Round 2, he’s absolutely a name to watch off of his value on the board and his athletic potential, even if he doesn’t fill a massive need.

Round 3: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

If you told me 6 months ago the Bears could end up with a haul of DeMarvin Leal and John Metchie III, I would have laughed in your face. With Metchie’s ACL tear and Leal’s marijuana arrest — it’s legal in Illinois, and the NFL is much less strict against THC than it used to be — it’s a possibility here.

Metchie might just be the best route runner in the 2022 draft. He’s a crafty technician with a variety of releases, precision in his cuts and the ability to attack leverage points in man and exploit soft spots in zone. He’s also agile after the catch, has strong hands and offers above-average deep speed. His medicals will be crucial, but if he recovers, he could end up being the steal of the draft.

Round 5 (via Texans): Thayer Munford, OG, Ohio State

Maybe it’s prospect fatigue, but I don’t get why Thayer Munford hasn’t been talked about as much as he used to be.

A four-year full-time starter at the collegiate level with experience at tackle and guard, Munford’s large sample size of in-game reps is apparent in how he plays the game. He is a refined blocker who generally times and places his strikes well, and he does a good job of keeping his pads low at the point of attack. He keeps a wide base and a low center of gravity when locked up with defenders, and he excels at sealing off defenders in the run game. His athletic upside might be somewhat limited, but he’s a versatile player with a high floor who should push for a starting job down the line in the pros.

Round 5: J.T. Woods, S, Baylor

I’m a big fan of rangy safeties, and as the Bears only have one safety under contract heading into the offseason, they might consider adding some depth.

I recently covered J.T. Woods in my defensive “My Guys” article here at WCG:

When you close out the Senior Bowl with a game-clinching interception, odds are you’ll make an impact on NFL teams. A Woods interception was a common occurrence at Baylor, where he had 8 interceptions in his two seasons as a full-time starter. He has great straight-line speed and impressive fluidity, contributing to his top-notch range in coverage. He tracks the ball with a ball-hawk mentality and good ball skills for a safety.

Is Woods a stellar run defender? Not necessarily, and his play strength can leave a bit to be desired. That said, he offers top-notch speed and ball skills in coverage and could be a playmaker at the next level.

Round 6: Michael Maietti, C, Missouri

What a surprise! Another one of “my guys” in this class, this time on the offensive side of the ball. Michael Maietti isn’t even in TDN’s database right now, but I wanted to throw him into this mock, anyway.

Michael Maietti was a second-team All-SEC lineman and a third-team All-American this year, and his tape is really fun to watch. His size is a concern at just 6-foot-1 with 74 1⁄2-inch arms, but he moves so well for a center and has fantastic body control and mobility. He’s also an intelligent blocker who executes zone assignments well and can communicate well at the line of scrimmage.

Maietti’s lack of length has hurt his draft stock to this point, but he brings a lot of NFL-caliber tools to the table. There’s no such thing as too many offensive line depth, so taking a shot on a player as quick and intelligent as Maietti is wouldn’t be a bad strategy for the Bears.