The 2022 NFL Draft is upon us, and the future of both the Chicago Bears franchise and Justin Fields’ reign as a starting quarterback in Chicago may hang in the balance.
The Bears are in a tough position this year (thank you, Ryan Pace) with limited capital to spend on free agency and player retention, plus a depleted picks pool for this year’s draft.
In trading Khalil Mack, new Bears General Manager Ryan Poles addressed both of those issues by clearing off some much-needed cap space while recouping a second round draft pick for Chicago. While some fans are unhappy about the compensation Chicago received for Mack, at this point it is what it is.
Free Agency has been... well... underwhelming in terms of players brought in to help Justin Fields develop and grow in his second year at the helm of the Bears offense. Again, at this point that too is what it is.
What’s needed in the 2022 Draft in Chicago, in my and many other people’s opinions, is some direct help for Justin Fields, and finding that assistance for QB1 is what this mock draft I’m presenting is all about.
Help for Justin. All in. Everything else is set aside.
Let’s cut to the chase, using the Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine I’ve taken my best shot at helping Justin out. This was a “no-trades” draft. Let’s see how I did, and be sure to let me know in the comments what you think of my draft!
39. Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
This was a really hard choice for me because I wanted both Watson and George Pickens, and I had to choose between the two of them. Watson, athletically, is like a player who can dial up “cheat mode” on a video game. Explosive, all the tools you would want in a wideout, he’s the whole package. Yes, there are the downsides too... North Dakota State isn’t really the worlds biggest football factory. Still, I decided to take the athletic upside of Watson at 39.
48. George Pickens, WR, Georgia
I was pleasantly surprised to see Pickens still on the board at 48, and I had to stop and consider if it makes sense to double dip on wide receiver in the second round over choosing a much-needed offensive lineman. In the end, it was more of a “best player available in need positions” as the top tackles in this range were gone and the positional value of guards allows them to be taken later.
71. Nicholas Petit-Frere OT, Ohio State
By this time in the draft I was really keying in on the offensive line pool of players. Petit-Frere is an old teammate of Justin’s from Ohio State, and he’s also got a ton of upside. Petit-Frere is certainly not a “day one upgrade” at offensive tackle, in fact he’s a fairly raw product considering the program he’s coming out of. He is, however, a very good athlete with flued hips, good lateral quickness and size. He needs to get stronger and finish putting on a “pro body” to make it to the next level, but there’s just too much upside to go for somebody with a lower ceiling who may be more polished right now.
148. Joshua Ezeudu, IOL, North Carolina
Ezeudu has all the traits you want in a mid-round draft pick physically, but that’s not why I picked him here... I picked him because he’s got a big nasty streak in him and Justin Fields needs people who will ‘have his back’ on gameday. Ezeudu is the “anti-Ifedi” of game management, willing to get into the opponent’s faces and not back down from a challenge. Ezeudu is a developmental player with high upside and a fairly high floor... but he won’t be a Day 1 starter unless “something really bad has happened.”
150. Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota
At this point in the draft, we are looking at developmental guys, and Waletzko certainly fits that bill. He’s very tall, and (strangely enough) is a fairly competent pass catcher for an offensive tackle. Yes, that really is a thing. He is entirely a developmental project, and indeed would likely be a bubble guy on the roster at best in 2022 but that’s the way things are at this end of the draft.
186. Samori Toure, WR, Nebraska
Every draft pick at this level is nothing more than a guy who’s potential you like. Toure is ALL potential. Toure may come out of Nebraska, but most of his career was played at Montana, where he absolutely killed it as a player. In Montana Toure put up 155 receptions for 2,488 yards and 20 touchdowns in three years. Not bad. He went to Nebraska as a graduate transfer for his final year of eligibility. Accurate routes, good hands, good speed, there’s a lot to like about his game.
So there you have it. What do you think?
ARE YOU READY FOR THE DRAFT?
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