The 2022 NFL Draft has come to an end, and while the Bears have made all 11 of their selections, none of them have stepped foot onto an NFL field yet.
This makes it the perfect time to grade each draft pick, of course.
From my own perspective, draft grades aren’t an indication of how good or bad a prospect is. This more or less sees how each pick fares when factoring in the likes of consensus ranking, positional need and my own personal evaluations. It’s far from a perfect process, and it’s one that will almost surely make me look stupid in one way or another, but it’s also one that can be very fun to engage in.
That said, here are my grades for each Bears pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Round 2 (39): Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
The Bears had significant struggles at the cornerback position, and they secured one of the best in the class at the position in Gordon. He’s a fluid athlete with loose hips, fantastic footwork, a high football IQ and an aggressive edge. There’s no reason to think he can’t start from Day 1 for Chicago.
Round 2 (48): Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
It was a bit surprising that the Bears didn’t take an offensive player in either of their first two picks, but they did get two very good defensive backs out of those selections. Brisker is a do-it-all safety with great range in coverage and a willing edge as a tackler. He should give Eddie Jackson the long-term running mate he has lacked since Adrian Amos left.
Round 3 (71): Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
The Bears eventually went with an offensive player in Round 3, but Jones was generally seen as a reach at No. 71. Turning 25 years old in May and being a limited route runner hurts the value of the pick, but he is still an explosive athlete with a thick frame, great YAC ability and returner value. Wide receiver is still a major need for Chicago, but Jones provides a fun gadget piece for the offense.
Round 5 (168): Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah
Jones is an athletic offensive lineman with good mobility, great burst as a down blocker and a mean streak that allows him to drive defenders into the dirt. Though probably not a Day 1 starter, he has potential to crack the lineup in a year or two and projects as a seamless scheme fit for the Bears’ wide-zone scheme.
Round 5 (174): Dominique Robinson, EDGE, Miami (OH)
The Bears found some intriguing depth at the edge rusher position in Robinson, who’s new to the position but offers a tantalizing combination of athleticism and length. He’s raw and won’t provide much value against the run early on, but his upside as a pass-rusher is obvious on tape.
Round 6 (186): Zachary Thomas, OG, San Diego State
It’s hard to really be harsh on late-round picks given the low-stakes nature of these selections, but it helps that Thomas seems to be good value and a fantastic fit for what the Bears need along the offensive line. He’s an above-average athlete with a nasty demeanor and guard-tackle versatility, which should help him crack the active roster.
Round 6 (203): Trestan Ebner, RB, Baylor
Ryan Poles emphasized the running back depth of the 2022 class, so it’s no surprise they took advantage of that with an electric back like Ebner. He probably won’t contribute much on offense early on, but his long-term prognosis as a change-of-pace back with special teams value is a solid one.
Round 6 (207): Doug Kramer, C, Illinois
Kramer is a local product with 5 years of starting experience at a Power 5 program, and his pad level, strength and coordination made him a reliable starter at Illinois. He doesn’t have starting experience at any position other than center, which could hurt how much playing time he sees early, but he’s a very good backup option at that position for the Bears.
Round 7 (226): Ja’Tyre Carter, OG, Southern
Carter was a Senior Bowl invite who performed well and was widely seen as one of the top HBCU prospects in the 2022 class, so to get him in Round 7 was very good value for the Bears. He can play both tackle and guard and could prove to be a valuable backup for their offensive line going forward.
Round 7 (254): Elijah Hicks, S, Cal
The Bears brought in some additional secondary depth in the form of Hicks, who has already become a fan favorite for his passion and energy in Twitter videos. He’s a hard-working player with very good instincts and solid ball skills, so he could be able to secure a roster spot when the season rolls around.
Round 7 (255): Trenton Gill, P, NC State
With Pat O’Donnell no longer on the roster, the Bears needed to add a punter to compete with Ryan Winslow at some point this offseason. Gill can stand to speed up his delivery, but he’s a big-legged punter with a pro-ready approach, kickoff and holder value, and solid touch down the field.