Bears' Top 2022 NFL Draft Targets

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2022

Bears' Top 2022 NFL Draft Targets

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    The Chicago Bears are entering the next stage of what should be a fairly significant rebuild. It began when Chicago traded up to draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in 2021. Fields is Chicago's quarterback of the future, while new head coach Matt Eberflus and new general manager Ryan Poles lead the revamped front office.

    Chicago has several needs to address in the 2022 draft. It added center Lucas Patrick and guard Dakota Dozier in free agency but needs to further bolster a line that surrendered 58 sacks in 2021. The Bears could also use defensive help after ranking 23rd in run defense, 17th in yards per pass attempt allowed and 22nd in scoring defense.

    Unfortunately, the trade for Fields left Chicago without a first-round pick this year. The Bears will first be on the clock at No. 39. Thanks to the deal that sent Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers, Chicago also has the 48th overall pick.

    It's hard to predict which prospects will be on the board after Thursday's first round, but the Bears can find quality talent on Day 2. Here you will find a look at three prospects Chicago should target based on factors like player production, upside, team needs and projected draft range.

Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Ideally, 2021 second-round pick Teven Jenkins will put behind him the back issues that derailed his rookie campaign. That should help Chicago solidify its left tackle spot, but right tackle and guard are still areas of concern.

    Texas A&M's Kenyon Green has enough versatility to provide Chicago with options along its line.

    "Green is a third-year starter who came to Texas A&M as the top overall recruit in Texas and a 5-star offensive tackle," Brandon Thorn of the Bleacher Report Scouting Department wrote. " He has amassed 35 career starts at every position except center in a heavy inside-zone-run scheme and projects best as a guard in the NFL.

    He could help fill the void left by guard James Daniels' departure, and he could compete with Larry Borom at right tackle. Green would be a tremendous first dart to throw at the offensive line, though Chicago should take aim at more targets during the draft.

    Fields is the future in Chicago, and he was sacked 36 times in only 12 games last season.

    The 40th-ranked prospect on the B/R Scouting Department's big board, Green stands a reasonable chance of still being on the board early in Round 2.

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    If Chicago chooses to go defense at the top of Round 2, Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd would be a fantastic prospect to target. A versatile second-level defender, Lloyd has the skills to be a sideline-to-sideline run defender and an excellent coverage linebacker.

    "In coverage, Lloyd is well ahead of most college linebackers," Derrik Klassen wrote. "His comfort in feeling out routes behind him, particularly as the hook player, is solid and allows him to consistently close windows in zone coverage. Lloyd also has the speed and length to match up with all kinds of body types and positions in man coverage."

    Last season, Lloyd totaled 110 tackles, 65 solo stops, eight sacks, 22 tackles for loss, six passes defensed and four interceptions. While on the slighter side at 6'2" and 237 pounds, Lloyd could have an early impact against both the run and the pass next to Roquan Smith.

    The 37th-ranked prospect on the B/R big board, Lloyd might fall to the Bears at No. 39. However, Chicago might also be forced to trade up to land him. In a recent mock by NFL.com's Chad Reuter, for example, Lloyd went 19th overall to the New Orleans Saints.

    If Lloyd is still available late in the first round, Chicago should consider moving up a few spots and landing him on opening night.

Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    An early run on wide receivers could leave Chicago with few starting-caliber options on Day 2. However, the Bears should still look to bolster their receiving corps if the draft value makes sense.

    The Bears added Equanimeous St. Brown and Byron Pringle in free agency but also lost starting perimeter receiver Allen Robinson II. Chicago ranked 30th in both passing and yards per pass attempt last season, and adding another pass-catcher would aid Fields' development.

    Cincinnati's Alec Pierce, the 45th-ranked prospect on the B/R board might be the best option left in Chicago's range. He has the size (6'3", 211 lbs) to quickly become a go-to target for Fields.

    "He is a true ball-winning receiver who high-points throws in the red zone and can consistently adjust his body on back-shoulder throws when running go routes," Nate Tice of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. "He has good length, and his natural hands as a receiver on throws to and away from his body allow him to maximize his catching range."

    Last season, Pierce hauled in 52 passes for 884 yards and eight touchdowns with the Bearcats. While first-round receiver prospects like Arkansas' Treylon Burks and Ohio State's Garrett Wilson have generated plenty of buzz, Pierce has the potential to be a sneaky Day 2 gem.

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