Chicago was finally able to make some picks in the NFL draft with three selections on day two. Ryan Poles didn’t make any moves in terms of trades, which is refreshing to see in comparison to Ryan Pace’s draft habits. They were able to let the draft play out and make their picks
Here’s some instant thoughts on the Bears’ selections made Friday night.
#39 Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
The first pick by the Bears in the 2022 NFL draft fills a big need. The CB2 spot last year was atrocious. It was a revolving door between Kindle Vildor, Duke Shelley and Thomas Graham Jr for a short spell. With Jaylon Johnson locking down the other side, teams were more than comfortable throwing the other way.
Gordon was a first team All-Pac-12 player in 2021 opposite Trent McDuffie, who was drafted in the first round by Kansas City. Gordon is a physical corner just like Johnson and has experience playing nickel.
As is the case with most rookie corners, instincts and anticipation are areas to improve, but Gordon projects to be a starter right away. How good he is depends on the job Eberflus and co. do with him.
#48 Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
A bit of a surprising pick considering the needs of the Bears, but the more you dive into the pick, the more it makes sense. Brisker is an extremely versatile player who split time at safety, linebacker and slot corner. He’s part of that new wave of safeties who are asked to play closer to the line of scrimmage and be a playmaker.
With all of the speed and space in today’s NFL, you need a malleable player that can run multiple positions. Brisker gives the Bears that combo safety that could spend time next to Roquan Smith if needed. A shoulder injury prevented him from being more impactful in 2021, but still earned second team All-American status.
Poles and Eberflus can look at Brisker and see a player they can move all over the field.
#71 Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
It’s a wide receiver, but it’s not in the mold you would think. Jones Jr. began his career at USC and transferred to Tennessee. He’s spent six years in college and will be 25 years old at the start of the season.
His best ability is returning. He averaged 15 yards per punt return in 2021 and 27 on kickoffs. He did improve as a receiver throughout his time in college with 807 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021.
But he’s not a true receiver…..at least not yet. He’s not a polished route runner but is tremendous after the catch and in open space. He may not be a receiver, but he could be a weapon.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has the keys to the offense and sees Jones Jr. as a day one contributor. There’s no other reason to draft a 25-year old receiver in the third round. He will play right away and be a gadget player on the Bears offense, unless he can become something more.
It’s clear in the second round the Bears were in the “best player available” mode. It helps that the best players available on their board were defensive players, which plays into the hands of Eberflus. He obviously wants to make his mark on defense and got two players he feels comfortable with contributing from day one.
As for the Jones Jr. pick, we were expecting a more traditional wideout. Instead, Chicago got a gadget player who could line up anywhere on the field. He has elite speed and can make anyone miss in the open field. And at his age, it’s definitely someone the Bears want to see play immediately.