Bears 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Roundup of B/R Staff, Kiper and Expert PicksApril 18, 2022
Bears 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Roundup of B/R Staff, Kiper and Expert Picks
The Chicago Bears don't have any picks in the opening round of the 2022 NFL draft. They sent their first-round selection—which ended up being the No. 7 overall pick—to the New York Giants in the trade that allowed them to move up to take quarterback Justin Fields at No. 11 in last year's draft.
Although the Bears won't be busy April 28—unless they decide to trade up—they are going to have the opportunity to make up for that on the second day of the draft. Chicago owns two second-round picks and a third-round selection, so it has a chance to add numerous top prospects.
The Bears will first be on the clock at No. 39 overall, and they won't have to wait long to pick again, as they also own the No. 48 selection. They acquired the latter pick in the deal that sent Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this offseason.
Which players will Chicago take with its first two picks? Here's what some experts are predicting the Bears do with their pair of second-round selections this year.
B/R Scouting Department
No. 39: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
No. 48: Boye Mafe, DE, Minnesota
In the B/R Scouting Department's mock, the Bears address two of their biggest needs with their second-round selections: their receiving corps and their pass rush. And they select a pair of players who could make an immediate impact in 2022.
Chicago didn't bring back Allen Robinson II in free agency, so it needs another top receiver to start alongside Darnell Mooney. Alec Pierce spent four seasons at Cincinnati and was a three-year starter, including in 2021, when he earned All-AAC second-team honors after recording 52 catches for 884 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games.
The Bears need to strengthen their pass rush after trading Mack, and Boye Mafe's stock has been on the rise since strong performances at the Senior Bowl, the scouting combine and Minnesota's pro day. If the former Golden Gophers edge-rusher is still on the board at No. 48, then Chicago would be getting a steal.
Pierce and Mafe could contribute quickly in the NFL, and they also have the potential to be starters for the long term. Should the Bears draft both in the second round, they will almost certainly be delighted with how things unfolded.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.
No. 39: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
No. 48: Tyler Smith, OT/OG, Tulsa
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has the Bears going in a completely different direction than the B/R Scouting Department did. However, Chicago still addresses two big needs in Kiper's projections, as it lacks playmakers in the secondary and has to do a better job of protecting Fields.
Kyler Gordon could form a strong cornerback duo with Jaylon Johnson in Chicago. The former Washington defensive back started games in three of his four seasons with the Huskies, and he was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection in 2021, when he had 46 tackles and two interceptions (both career highs) in 12 games.
"He has lockdown traits and didn't allow a single touchdown in coverage last season," Kiper wrote. "There has been a great history of teams finding starting corners in the second round, and Gordon has a great chance to play early."
Tyler Smith, meanwhile, has the ability to play either tackle or guard, and Chicago has holes at both. So it could benefit from the versatility that the former Tulsa lineman would bring to its offense.
Because the Bears are lacking depth at both cornerback and the offensive line, these players would be smart options for them to consider during the second round.
The Athletic's Dane Brugler
No. 39: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
No. 48: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
Like the B/R Scouting Department, The Athletic's Dane Brugler has the Bears addressing wide receiver with their first selection in the draft. However, Brugler has them going in a different direction by adding one of the top playmakers from the FCS level in recent years.
Christian Watson posted solid numbers throughout his four seasons at North Dakota State, and he had 43 receptions for 801 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. Will he be able to keep having success when he starts facing tougher competition in the NFL? There are reasons to believe he will.
"I love the kid. ... He's going to be great in the locker room and work his tail off every day," an AFC scout told NFL.com's Lance Zierlein.
As for Perrion Winfrey, it may take him a little bit of time to adjust to the NFL level. He has size and strength, but he could be a rotational player at first. However, the Bears need to improve on the defensive line, so Winfrey could be a good fit for them for the future.