In case you missed it the first three parts of this roundtable series were about the offensive line, defensive backs, and wide outs, and while those are the three biggest needs the Chicago Bears seem to have right now, it’s not all they’ll be drafting when they go on the clock for draft weekend.
So with that in mind, I posed this question to the WCG staff;
Besides o-line, defensive back, and wide receiver, who is “your guy” in the 2022 NFL Draft that you really hope the Bears draft?
And here’s what we had to say.
Jacob Infante - The Bears likely won’t draft a linebacker super early, but Roquan Smith and Nicholas Morrow are arguably the only linebackers on the roster who project as locks to make the roster. If they want to wait a little bit, Brian Asamoah from Oklahoma would be a fantastic fit for the Bears’ defense. He is a very good athlete whose lateral mobility and range as a tackler stand out on tape. He has a large wingspan - especially for a smaller linebacker - and he offers true three-down value with intriguing flashes in coverage. The consensus value of his stock is all over the place, but if the Bears want a linebacker who can play both MIKE and WILL, Asamoah could be right down their alley.
EJ Snyder - There are so many great players down the board in this draft that it’s tough to choose - I could pick one at every position. On offense I’ll say Chig Okonkwo (TE, Maryland), He’d be an ideal H-back weapon for Luke Getsy to deploy in the role Josiah Deguara plays in Green Bay. On defense, I’ll reach down the board and pick Eyioma Uwazurike (DL, Iowa State). He’s a huge defender that can play anywhere from 1-tech to 5-tech and reminds me of a young, raw Akiem Hicks.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter - There are many guys on the defensive side of the ball I’d love to see the Bears pick up. I almost went with Zachary Carter, the former Florida Gator D-lineman who reminds me a great deal of former Chicago Bear great Alex Brown. However, I couldn’t make my list entirely of SEC players. And, I would be lying if I didn’t say ILB is still a big need aside from Roquan Smith. I don’t trust Nicholas Morrow just yet, as he’s coming off a bad injury and signed just a one-year deal. There needs to be another long-term answer paired with #58.
Enter Devin Lloyd. The former Utah Ute is a complete player at the position, and he would thrive as a Mike at the next level. He’s not the twitchiest guy in coverage, but he makes up for it with excellent football IQ and is quick to diagnose plays before the ball is even snapped. You want a mean and motor kind of guy. He’s a mean and motor kind of guy. Matt Eberflus will be doing cartwheels if Devin Lloyd has his name turned in by Ryan Poles. Whoever gets the right to draft Lloyd will be acquiring a true blue chipped player.
Rahul Ramachandran - As you may already know, I’m not a very big fan of David Montgomery, so I’m looking at running back here. I like speedier backs, and Zamir White from Georgia has just that. He’s got excellent straight-line speed with great acceleration and decisiveness (no more shuffling behind the backfield like Montgomery). He always keeps his legs moving through the point of contact, hence why he takes advantage of all that’s there to be had. He would take this Bears running game to a new level.
Robert Schmitz - I haven’t quite looked at DTs yet (though John Ridgeway III is intriguing), so I’ll say JT Woods — the Baylor Safety has detailed Cover-2 experience, a track-star background, and plays the ball in the air exceptionally well. The ‘Flus defense needs young playmakers, and I think he’d fit perfectly in the Bears’ disguise-based defense.
Patti Curl - Alabama defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis is another proud member of the 300+ club, and at 310 pounds, he’s one of the heavier prospects with the athleticism to play the pivotal three-tech position in Eberflus’ defense. Mathis has impressive first step quickness for his size, and while he excels in the run game, he’s still been able to produce as an interior pass rusher even in a rotational role on Alabama’s deep defensive line. When it comes to effort, let’s just say the only “loafs” Phidarian is familiar with are of the meat variety, and he’s frequently seen chasing a runner ten yards downfield. He has the strength to control offensive lineman, and the savvy to disengage and discard them when he’s ready to pounce. Needless to say, this man would fill out a navy uniform nicely.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. - I’m sure scouts scurried back to their tape after Jelani Woods absolutely destroyed all the events at the NFL Combine and continued to shine at his pro day, but if there was some way the Bears could snag this athletic, late blooming tight end prospect I’d be excited. He was being talked about as a day three guy after his season ended, but now he’s a likely day two prospect.
Per @MathBomb, Virginia TE Jelani Woods is now #1 most athletic tight end prospect EVER!— Eric Galko (@EricGalko) March 23, 2022
At Pro Day, Woods added to awesome Combine with the follow numbers
All would've been #1 at TE at NFL Combine
#1 Athlete at TE all time #ShrineBowl pic.twitter.com/SGgIUNuqy2
Josh Sunderbruch - Jeremy Ruckert (TE), the Ohio State University. Ruckert is a 6’5”, 250lb three-down tight end. Let others wax about Olave, who is out of reach anyway. Ruckert would be an immediate security blanket for Fields and already comes ready to serve as a competent run-blocker with good hands who can make catches when he needs to. He needs to develop in the passing game both blocking and receiving, but even though he’s projected by some to be a third-round prospect, I think he might be worth a gamble in the second just because of how many boxes he checks. That said, if Poles gets him in the third, I think it’s a steal. Of all of the prospects I’ve looked at, I think he looks like the best value for Chicago in terms of what he offers versus what he’s likely to cost in draft capital.
With the draft such a big moment for the Bears I had to reach out for a couple members of our podcasting family, Brandon Robinson and Dannhy Meehan, to get their takes on this series too.
Brandon Robinson - Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota is one of my favorite guys this year. Elite athlete with an array of moves to get after the passer. Overlooked because of the sheer volume of edge rushers but he’s a first round talent.
Danny Meehan - Because it’s me, this has got to be a linebacker, and I will not apologize for this. Chad Muma out of Wyoming just warms the cockles of my heart as I watch him. An absolutely relentless motor and he only knows one speed. Good in coverage and can cover ground pretty well both laterally and forward/back, making him a real 3-down backer for the modern game. Lower level of competition is something to be considered, But he starred for the Cowboys.
Now it’s your turn, besides OL, WR, and DB, who is “your guy” that you want to see the Bears draft?