The Bears didn’t have a first-round pick, but the new front office did a great job with what they had. They effectively turned three picks into seven later on in the draft. First, the Bears traded the 150th pick for picks 166 and 207. Then took that 166th pick and traded it for picks 174 and 226. They also traded the 148th pick for picks 168 and 203. Finally, they traded a 6th round in 2023 for two more 7th rounders in this year’s draft. Trading back in the draft is a proven strategy of winning front offices. The difference in talent from a player taken only 10 spots away, especially later in the draft is minimal, so picking up an extra player gives the Bears more depth and another shot that one of these players turns into a contributor for this team.
CB Kyler Gordon (Rd 2, 39th overall) – Washington
Gordon is a dynamic athlete with good size and strength. Because of that, he can fit into a variety of defensive schemes and coverages. He’s aggressive and can be disruptive on blitzes. He was an All-Pac-12 defender in 2021 alongside fellow Washington corner Trent McDuffie (Rd 1 Pick 21). Most scouting boards had him as an end of Round 1/start of Round 2 talent. Gordon has potential to be a big-time playmaker. A good get for the Bears here.
The questions on Gordon are that he was the number 2 corner in college (Behind McDuffie) and the obvious step up in class that comes with the NFL. He’s still improving a few technical things, but he should really just benefit from time on the field.
S Jaquan Brisker (Rd 2, 48th overall) – Penn State
Similar to Gordon, Brisker is another tough and versatile defender. The versatility is something I kept reading in draft profiles. The Bears should be able to move him around wherever they need him in coverage. Scouts like the jump he took in 2021 mentally, he played with more confidence despite having a banged-up shoulder most of the season.
Weaknesses include route recognition and staring down the QB at times, but these are skills that should get better with NFL experience and lots of defensive-minded coaches in Chicago.
WR Velus Jones Jr. (Rd 3, 71st overall) – Tennessee
Jones was projected by many as a 4th-5th rounds pick, so you could say he was a bit of a surprise in the 3rd round, but with Darnell Mooney and Byron Pringle as the only wide-receivers penciled in, the Bears were expected to draft one if not two wide-receivers. All of the knocks on Jones are his route running and footwork. He was seen as more of a special team’s specialist. What the Bears might like in him is the run-after-catch ability. He could be an interesting weapon for this offense if used underneath in some quick plays. Which could also help the offensive line and Justin Fields if defenses are worried about it.
OT Braxton Jones (Rd 5, 168th overall) – Southern Utah
We knew the Bears would need to address the offensive line in the draft and towards the later rounds they did. Jones is known as a better pass protector and rush blocker than run blocker, but he’s a good get in the 5th round. He’s quick and has plus footwork that should be able to get him on the field this season. There’s some potential for improvement in hand placement, lower-body stability (he needs to get lower) and consistency, but there’s definitely a lot to work with here.
LB Dominique Robinson (Rd 5, 174th overall) – Miami (OH)
Robinson began career at Miami (OH) as a wide receiver before making the switch to defense. That athleticism allows him to cover a lot of ground and get around pass protectors. He’s clearly still learning the position and the NFL will be another step up. He’ll need to be up for a steep learning curve. With that, he’ll look to get stronger to avoid getting pushed too deep on pass-rush attempts and ran over against downhill rushing attacks. But with only two years of defense under his belt, there’s a high ceiling for Robinson and his quickness could provide issues for opponents.
OT/OG Zach Thomas (Rd 6, 186 overall) – San Diego State
Thomas is a versatile lineman – he has played games at left tackle, right tackle and right guard. He’ll likely move to guard with the Bears. Some analysts say Thomas lacks explosiveness and needs to clean up hand placement and initial punch. He does a good job staying low and has active feet. He’ll be a good late round depth piece that can be plugged into multiple spots on the line if needed.
RB Trestan Ebner (Rd 6, 203rd overall) – Baylor
Ebner’s best skill to help in Chicago is as a pass-catcher out of the backfield (11 receiving TDs at Baylor). He could be dangerous if put into mismatches with linebackers. He has good speed and playmaking ability after the catch- he’s also a strong kick and punt returner. His weakness revolve around his indecisiveness and lack of ability to create for himself as a runner out of the backfield. He also needs to upgrade as a blocker and has had an issue with ball security. But in the 6th round, Ebner is a unique playmaker and pass catcher that only gives the Bears more offensive options.
C Doug Kramer (Rd 6, 207th overall) – Illinois
Kramer is a home-state kid (Hinsdale Central) who has 5-years of starting experience at Illinois. Although a bit undersized, he’s a hard worker who plays through the whistle. Struggles have come against power rushers that are basically just bigger than him. He’s a good depth piece (unlikely to move from center), who has a strong work ethic and team presence. A leader at Illinois and known as a player who’s tough, smart, dependable. If you need another reason to root for Kramer, he grew up a die-hard Bears fan too.
OL Ja’Tyre Carter (Rd 7, 226th overall) – Southern
Carter has the frame to be an NFL guard, but he’s not the most athletic and he’s still raw in his balance and hand placement. But remember this is basically a free pick we got from trades, so love adding more offensive line help. It’s low risk and hopefully and maybe one of these linemen will become a long-term starter.
S Elijah Hicks (Rd 7, 254th overall) – California
The Bears needed secondary help. They addressed it in the early rounds with Gordon and Brisker, but Hicks provides more depth there. Scouts say he’s disciplined and physical. He previously played corner at Cal before moving to safety. Matt Eferflus has said he likes that background of playing both positions in the past. I wouldn’t be surprised for Hicks to get a shot this year, but I definitely think he provides value on special teams. As a physical ballhawk with good feet, Hicks will be fun to watch.
P Trenton Gill (Rd 7, 255th overall) – NC State
Gill will likely compete with Ryan Winslow after the loss of Pat O’Donnell this offseason. The other question is how Gill/Winslow will be as a holder. The O’Donnell/Santos combination was one of the most successful parts of recent Bears team. Gill was a walk on at NC State but ended up as the starter for 3-years and kick-off specialist.
When looking at all the moves and selections Ryan Poles has made in his first draft, you can’t help but be excited. I can’t remember the Bears ever trading down and acquiring more picks then using those picks to fill the positions that look to be the biggest weaknesses.
There’s a lot of upsides in these picks and a lot of potential ways to use them next season. I don’t know how many times I said one of the Bears picks was versatile, but that seems to be a huge theme here. I’m excited to see how Matt Eberflus and company use them!
In addition, the Bears also have an extensive list of undrafted free agents that have been invited to rookie camp:
|DREW PLITT||QB||BALL STATE|
|MASTER TEAGUE||RB||OHIO STATE|
|LANDON LENOIR||WR||SOUTHERN ILLINOIS|
|HENRY LITWIN||WR||SLIPPERY ROCK|
|SAVON SCARVER||WR||UTAH STATE|
|CHASE ALLEN||TE||IOWA STATE|
|TRISTEN TAYLOR||OL||EASTERN WASHINGTON|
|RALPH HOLLEY||DL||WESTERN MICHIGAN|
|KAINOA FUIAVA||DL||IDAHO STATE|
|CHRISTIAN ALBRIGHT||LB||BALL STATE|
|EZEKIEL BARNETT||LB||LOUISIANA TECH|
|JAMAL BROOKS||LB||SOUTH ALABAMA|
|ROY BAKER||DB||EASTERN KENTUCKY|
|TRE BUGG||DB||AIR FORCE|
|DERICK BUSH||DB||COASTAL CAROLINA|
|JAYLON JONES||DB||OLE MISS|
|DISHON MCNARY||DB||CENTRAL MICHIGAN|
|MATT COGHLIN||K||MICHIGAN STATE|