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2022 Bears mock draft: Explosive edition

In our latest mock draft, the Bears make two trades, one in each direction.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 18 Western Michigan at Pitt Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Does anybody really read the lede to these mock drafts?

I can write basically anything I want in here. You are all here for the picks, anyway. Now seems like a good time to confess that I’ve never seen a single Star Wars or Lord of the Rings movie, as well as any of the Godfather movies. I’d normally refrain from confessing these things that make me seem uncultured, but the lede of a Bears 7-round mock draft seems like the perfect place to admit it without being judged.

Anyway, I used NFL Mock Draft Database’s mock draft simulator for this mock, as I have for a handful of these articles in the last few months. If you haven’t tried it already, I definitely recommend giving it a shot.

Without further ado, let’s try and predict what the Bears will do in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Trade 1: Saints receive second-round pick (No. 39). Bears receive second-round pick (No. 49), compensatory third-round pick (No. 98) and seventh-round pick (No. 237).

Round 2 (via Chargers): Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

A speed demon wide receiver who’s also a crafty route-running technician? Sign me up.

Outside of his 4.41 40-yard dash with a 1.46 10-yard split, Skyy Moore’s Combine testing was a little underwhelming for his standards. That said, his tape might just be the most fun of not just any wide receiver in the draft, but any position, period. He’s an electric athlete with crisp movements that allow him to evade defenders easily after the catch, as well as accelerate coming out of his breaks. He has the deep speed needed to stretch the field vertically, and his understanding of leverage and footwork allow him to create quick separation as a route runner. His contact balance with the ball in his hands is also incredibly good.

Moore is the type of player you stick into the slot and find ways to manufacture touches for him. His combination of pure electricity and football intelligence would make him an absolute steal for the Bears were he to fall to them.

Round 2 (via Saints): Perrion Winfrey, DL, Oklahoma

With all but two of the top quarterbacks still on the board, the Bears found a Saints team willing to part with a late third-rounder to secure competition for Jameis Winston.

Perrion Winfrey is the explosive 3-technique that Matt Eberflus’ defensive system borderline revolves around. An interior defensive lineman isn’t the sexiest move in Round 2, but a player like Winfrey could really make a difference. Here’s my anecdote on him when I broke down some prospects with Chicagoland ties:

Winfrey is a Lake Park product who has killed it in the pre-draft process, excelling at the Senior Bowl and killing it at the Combine. His athletic ability is on display on a down-by-down basis, as his first step is tremendous and his speed in pursuit gives him plenty of range as a defender in space. He has a diverse arsenal as a pass-rusher, with quick and active hands at the point of contact needed to free himself up and disengage.

Round 3: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati

A haul of both the shifty Skyy Moore with the big-bodied, deep threat Alec Pierce would have me bouncing off the walls in excitement.

What Pierce may lack in nuance as a route runner to this point, he more than makes up for with pure physical attributes. Coincidentally enough, he’s also an Illinois native I did a write-up on in the same aforementioned article.

The Glen Ellyn native was a four-sport athlete at Glenbard West, so it’s no surprise that athleticism is a calling card of his game. He’s a 6-foot-3, 211-pound weapon with a 4.41 40-yard dash and both broad and vertical jumps in at least the 94th percentile for the wide receiver position all-time. Pierce’s deep speed stands out on tape, and he has the breakaway ability to outrun defenders in space. He uses his size very well when boxing out defensive backs at the catch point, and his physicality and body control are stellar in the air.

Trade 2: Cowboys receive third-round pick (No. 98) and fifth-round pick (No. 150 via Texans). Bears receive third-round pick (No. 88).

Round 3 (via Cowboys): Cole Strange, OG, Chattanooga

Bears fans may get flashbacks of Ryan Pace by trading up — and for a small-school prospect, no less — but Cole Strange is a fantastic pick for what this team needs.

Strange was on another level from his competition from an athletic perspective. His acceleration as a down blocker and mobility in pass protection popped out on tape whenever I would watch him. In addition to being the most athletic guard in the 2022 draft from a testing perspective, Strange is also one of this class’ nastiness blockers. He plays with a mean streak that allows him to pummel just about anyone in front of him.

He will need to work on lowering his center of gravity to maximize his anchor strength, but he could end up being a total steal late on Day 2.

Round 5: Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State

If you aren’t tantalized by the thought of a 6-foot-2 cornerback with great ball skills who can run a 4.33 40-yard dash, you may need to check your pulse.

In his four seasons at Sam Houston State, Zyon McCollum tallied 13 interceptions and 54 pass deflections. He attacks the ball like a wide receiver in the air and is nosy enough to enter the frame of opposing receivers at the catch point. He also has the speed to guard vertical route concepts, and his straight-line speed is among the best in the 2022 draft at any position. McCollum’s footwork and hip fluidity in press coverage are encouraging for the next level, too.

His tackling form and consistency in his pad level in coverage need improvement, but his ceiling makes him a player the Bears would be wise to target.

Round 6: Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota

There’s no such thing as too much offensive line depth, and if the Bears get the chance to grab someone with a 9.93 RAS grade in the sixth round, they should pounce on that opportunity.

Matt Waletzko is a 6-foot-8, 312-pound mammoth with a near 7-foot-2 wingspan and 36 1/8-inch arms. His sheer size alone allowed him to dominate at the FCS level, but he’s more than just some big lineman. His movement skills are refined for an offensive tackle, as he redirects well and has good acceleration climbing to the second level. When he gets his hands placed properly, his raw strength and long arms make it difficult for anyone to get inside his frame.

Pad level and weight distribution can be issues for Waletzko, but his sheer physical upside makes him a no-brainer developmental pick this late.

Round 7 (via Saints): Ellis Brooks, LB, Penn State

Though he didn’t test incredibly well, the on-field athleticism Ellis Brooks showed on tape is worth taking a shot on in the final round.

During his time at Penn State, Brooks lined up as a MIKE, SAM and WILL. He has loose hips and good range as a tackler in space, and he excels at slipping past wide-zone blocks to penetrate gaps and make tackles in the run game. He’s sound enough in coverage to drop back into man from time to time, and he offers special teams experience, as well.

Arm tackling and physicality can be a bit of an issue for Brooks, but he’s a player who could at least serve as a solid special teamer with versatility as a defensive depth option.

If you haven’t already, make sure to purchase my 2022 NFL Draft guide on my Patreon! It has my entire big board, a 7-round mock draft, Bears positional outlooks, scouting reports for my top 30 prospects and more.