Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player Chicago has selected will fit.
Round 2, No. 39 overall: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
My take: Ryan Poles' first draft pick as Chicago’s general manager addresses a void in the secondary. The Bears need to find a starter opposite Jaylon Johnson at cornerback, and Gordon’s outside/inside versatility gives the Bears an intriguing option. Gordon led the Huskies in pass deflections and interceptions in 2021, starting opposite first-round pick Trent McDuffie. The Bears allowed 31 passing touchdowns in 2021, which is tied for second-most allowed in franchise history (31 in 2015, 34 in 2014). According to NFL Next Gen Stats, a cornerback was the nearest defender on 27 of the Bears' 31 passing TDs allowed, the most in the NFL. While the Bears want to build around quarterback Justin Fields, snagging one of the draft’s top corners was a wise decision to help aid their struggling pass defense and help their issues generating turnovers (minus-13 in turnover differential in 2021, third-worst in NFL).
Round 2, No. 48 overall: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
My take: The Bears doubled down on defense in the second round and selected a player who could start opposite Eddie Jackson at safety. Most of Brisker’s snaps came playing up in the box, but his versatility makes him a fit at deep safety or in the slot. “He was always the kind of the guy that was the defensive coordinator on the field for Penn State,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. His size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds), flexibility and physicality make him a solid addition to Chicago’s secondary, but the bigger topic might be the Bears’ decision to forego any offensive additions with their top two picks to aid quarterback Justin Fields in his second season.
Round 3, No. 71 overall: Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
My take: The Bears were looking for speed and they found it in Jones, who ran a 4.31-second 40-yard dash. They also addressed a need on special teams by nabbing arguably the best returner in college football, who averaged 132.5 all purpose-yards per game in 2021. How Jones projects as a wide receiver in the NFL is a bit of an unknown considering his modest offensive production throughout a college career that began in 2016 at USC and culminated in him catching 62 passes for 807 yards and seven touchdowns at Tennessee. The Bears passed up on a handful of more proven receivers, including Jalen Tolbert, Calvin Austin III and David Bell. Chicago isn’t concerned about Jones being a 25-year-old rookie and is fond of his run-after-the-catch ability. Now they’ll have to figure out how he’ll be utilized as a weapon for Fields.
Round 5, No. 168 overall: Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah
My take: The Bears didn’t start drafting Saturday until 25 picks into the fifth round after executing four trades with the Chargers, Bills, Texans and Bengals to turn three Day 3 picks into eight. Drafting a developmental offensive tackle like Jones, who comes with tremendous length (nearly 36-inch arms), helps the Bears get closer to reaching the 90-man offseason roster limit and provides Chicago with another body upfront. Jones’ technique isn’t polished, and he needs to play with better balance and at a lower pad level, but that’s what you expect from a fifth-round offensive lineman that isn’t close to seeing the field.
Round 5, No. 174 overall: Dominique Robinson, Edge, Miami (Ohio)
My take: Chicago only sees upside and athletic ability in Robinson after a career that took him from high school quarterback to college receiver before the Miami product latched on at edge rusher. Robinson never started a game on defense in college but has a high ceiling backed by his length and ability to explode off the edge. He’s inexperienced at the position but a chance to develop in Matt Eberflus’ scheme could help him stick as part of the Bears’ pass rush rotation.
Round 5, No. 186 overall: Zachary Thomas, OT, San Diego State
My take: Chicago brings another developmental offensive lineman into the fold who presents them with position flexibility. Thomas started 17 games at right tackle, 14 at left tackle and two at right guard in college and has the body type and solid build to fit in a zone-blocking scheme. While Braxton Jones has better length between the Bears’ Day 3 offensive tackles, Thomas has a denser lower body and is more physical in the run game.
Round 6, No. 203 overall: Trestan Ebner, RB, Baylor
My take: The Bears come away from the draft with two dynamic returners in Velus Jones Jr. and Ebner, the latter of whom returned four touchdowns at Baylor and has 4.48 speed. Ebner was part of a two-back system throughout college, which is the role he’ll aim to fill in Chicago alongside David Montgomery. The 5-foot-11, 206-pound change-of-pace back runs routes like a receiver and catches the ball naturally, which should create opportunities for him as a target coming out of the backfield. “That’s his calling card and his best value, honestly,” Chicago area scout Breck Ackley said.
Round 6, No. 207 overall: Doug Kramer, C, Illinois
My take: The Bears' third offensive line selection of the day is the first on the interior. Kramer is on the smaller side at 6-2, 300 pounds but has a low center of gravity and is a strong run blocker. He touts experience, having started 47 games at Illinois and was “the best leader on the team,” according to Bears executive scout Jeff Shiver.
Round 7, No. 226 overall: Ja'Tyre Carter, OT, Southern
My take: Carter, a 6-foot-3, 311-pound prospect, was a four-year starter at Southern at left tackle but projects as a guard in the NFL. He's the third offensive tackle the Bears have taken on Day 3, which reflects a long-term commitment to building the pass protection around Fields with prospects who will need ample time to develop as rookies.
Round 7, No. 254: Elijah Hicks, S, Cal
My take: After three seasons at corner, Hicks made the transition to safety and became an effective playmaker in the process. He totaled 72 tackles along with three interceptions and four forced fumbles in 12 games last season. Matt Eberflus had four top-10 defenses in turnovers created during his time with the Colts, and the emphasis on creating takeaways is already being taught by defensive coaches in Chicago. The Bears added three defensive backs from the draft to a secondary that was overhauled this offseason after Chicago ranked 27th in opponents’ yards per attempt and 32nd in passer rating in 2021.
Round 7, No. 255: Trenton Gill, P, NC State
My take: Gill was the fourth punter selected in this year’s draft, which set an NFL record. The Bears already made several changes at punter this offseason when they let Pat O'Donnell go in free agency after signing Ryan Winslow, and they appear to be headed towards a punting competition in the coming months. Chicago hadn’t drafted a punter since they took O’Donnell in 2014, and with the strength of this year’s group, Poles made a wise move to use the team’s last draft pick on Gill instead of having to bid against other teams as the Bears assemble their class of college free agents.