The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone, and with it comes plenty of new data to work with.
Testing isn’t the end-all, be-all with a prospect, but it can provide an indication of a player’s athletic upside at the next level. Many prospects were able to boost their stock with a strong outing down in Indianapolis, and in this week’s Bears 7-round mock draft, I will only be drafting players who put up elite numbers.
As a helpful tool, I have also decided to include each prospect’s Relative Athletic Score (RAS). Kent Lee Platte’s tool to grade athletic measurements has been referenced several times on this website, but if you aren’t familiar already, I strongly recommend checking his work out.
Without further ado, let’s go and predict the Bears’ upcoming 2022 draft haul.
Round 2: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
The Bears have outwardly stated their hopes to become more vertical in their passing attack next year. Why not add a physical specimen who’s one of the best deep threats in the class?
Alec Pierce, who averaged 17.5 yards per catch at the collegiate level, is a 6-foot-3, 211-pound weapon with 4.41 speed and impressive ability after the catch. He has shown promise as a route-running technician — including a deadly speed release against press — and he has very good ball skills. Plus, the thought of adding a Glen Ellyn native is one that some Chicago natives could get behind.
Round 3: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
If they cut Danny Trevathan, the Bears will be in the market for some linebacker help alongside Roquan Smith. Pairing Smith with someone as athletic as Chad Muma could make their defense even more dangerous.
At 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, Muma brings great size to the linebacker position. He is an explosive athlete with a 1.61 10-yard split, a 40-inch vertical and a 10-foot-9 broad jump. His speed gives him plenty of range as a tackler, and he plays with a high motor that helps him both chase down ball-carriers and blitz up the A gap efficiently. His ceiling is high at the next level, and if he develops properly, Muma and Smith could come close to Brian Urlacher-Lance Briggs levels of physical ability.
Round 5 (via Texans): Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State
How early the Bears draft a cornerback this year could depend on what happens in free agency. That said, if they make some moves in free agency, they would be smart to take a shot on some athletic depth on Day 3.
Zyon McCollum was a productive ballhawk at the FCS level who had 13 interceptions and 54 pass deflections as a four-year starter. The 6-foot-2, 199-pounder tested as one of the best cornerbacks in Combine history, tallying elite numbers in the size, explosion, speed and agility criteria, including a 4.33 40-yard dash. He isn’t afraid to battle at the catch point, and he’s a willing tackler who can lower the shoulder. At the very least, McCollum is a top special teamer, but he could be a quality starter if coached up correctly.
Round 5: Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
Cam Jurgens is a Nebraska-born farm boy with a glorious mustache who makes his own beef jerky. Enough said.
On the field, Jurgens is a talented athlete who entered college as a tight end, and that athleticism shows on tape. He has flexible hips with good weight distribution, as well as very good lateral mobility and acceleration as a down blocker. He ran a 4.92 40-yard dash with a 96.5th-percentile 1.71 10-yard split, and he has long arms for someone who’s a hair under 6-foot-3. His athletic upside and physical attributes make him an interior lineman worth developing.
Round 6: Thomas Booker, DL, Stanford
As someone who’s been a fan of Thomas Booker’s game for months, it was reassuring for me to see him performing well at the Combine.
Booker’s first-step quickness stood out to me, which was reflected in his 1.69 10-yard split, and he ran a sub-5.0 40. His agility numbers both surpassed the 92th percentile, and he offers that flexible lower half when ripping to slip into the A or B gaps. He does a good job of freeing up his hands to disengage in the run game, and he has above-average length for a defensive lineman. The Bears could use some depth at the 3-technique alignment, and Booker’s explosiveness could make him a good fit.