Following months of analysis and speculation, the NFL draft is finally here. The NFL’s biggest offseason event kicks off with the first round at 7 p.m. Thursday from Las Vegas. It will continue throughout the weekend with the second and third rounds on Friday and the final four rounds on Saturday.
Thursday feels somewhat anticlimactic for Bears fans. Their team doesn’t hold a first-round draft pick Thursday night. The Bears traded it away in order to move up and select quarterback Justin Fields with the 11th overall pick last year.
The Bears do, however, hold six total draft picks, including a pair of second-round selections (39th and 48th overall). Below is everything Bears fans need to prepare for this week’s draft. Be sure to follow Shaw Local Senior Bears Analyst Hub Arkush on Twitter at @Hub_Arkush and Shaw Local Bears beat reporter Sean Hammond at @sean_hammond on Twitter and at @bears_reporter on Instagram.
NFL draft live updates
Bears draft San Diego State offensive lineman Zachary Thomas with 186th overall pick
With their third pick of the day, the Bears selected San Diego State offensive lineman Zachary Thomas with a sixth-round draft pick (186th overall).
Thomas played both right and left tackle for the Aztecs, but likely projects as a guard at the NFL level. As a left tackle last season, he was a first-team All-Mountain West performer. He has one major injury in his past: a torn ACL in 2018. At 6-foot-4, 308 pounds, Thomas doesn’t have the size that teams look for in a starting tackle.
Bears select Miami (Ohio) edge rusher Dominique Robinson with 174th overall pick
The Bears drafted Miami (Ohio) edge rusher Dominique Robinson with a fifth-round pick (174th overall). Robinson was a third-team All-MAC performer in 2021 with 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.
Robinson played wide receiver at Miami as recently as 2019. He grew up in Canton, Ohio, and played quarterback in high school. He measures in a 6-foot-4, 253 pounds. Having played edge rusher for only two seasons, he may require some time to develop at the NFL level.
Bears draft Southern Utah tackle Braxton Jones in fifth round, 168th overall
The Bears traded yet again, sending the 166th overall pick to the Bengals in exchange for a fifth-round pick (174th overall) and a seventh-round pick (226th overall).
After a flurry of trades, the Bears selected Southern Utah tackle Braxton Jones with the 168th overall pick. Jones was a three-year starter at left tackle at Southern Utah and a two-time FCS All-American. He is a 6-foot-5, 310 pounds tackle who grew up in Utah.
Bears trade twice more, now have seven picks Saturday
The Bears entered the day holding both the 148th and 150th overall draft picks in Saturday’s fifth round. They quickly dealt both of those picks for additional draft picks in a matter of minutes.
The Bears traded the 148th overall pick to Buffalo in exchange for the 168th pick (fifth round) and the 203rd pick (sixth round). They dealt the 150th pick to Houston in exchange for the 166th overall pick (fifth round) and the 207th pick (sixth round).
The Bills have traded picks 168 and 203 to the Bears for pick 148.
— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) April 30, 2022
Earlier in the day, they traded a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Chargers for a pair of 2022 seventh-round picks.
The Bears entered the day holding three draft picks. They now have seven. They hold two fifth-round picks (166 and 168), three sixth-round picks (186, 203 and 207) and two seventh-round picks (254 and 255).
Bears kick off day three with a trade
Ryan Poles woke up ready to make a deal. The Bears have traded a 2023 sixth-round draft pick to the Chargers in exchange for two seventh-round picks on Saturday, according to the NFL Network.
The Bears are sending the 2023 sixth-round pick they acquired from the Chargers for Khalil Mack back to the Chargers. In exchange, the Bears will take this year’s 254th and 255th overall picks. The Bears did not have a seventh-round pick entering Saturday.
They now have five selections on Saturday. They entered the day already holding two fifth-round picks at 148th and 150th overall, as well as a sixth-round pick at 186th.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 30, 2022
Day two comes to an end, Bears hold three picks Saturday
The second day of the NFL draft is complete. The Bears wound up staying put with their three picks Friday and selecting cornerback Kyler Gordon, safety Jaquan Brisker and receiver Velus Jones Jr. Get to know all three of the Bears’ picks here.
The draft will conclude with rounds four through seven on Saturday. The Bears hold three picks, but none until the fifth round. They have two fifth-round picks at 148th and 150th overall, as well as a sixth-round pick at 186th.
Bears general manager Ryan Poles said late Friday night that trading up into the fourth round probably isn’t likely.
“There’s repercussions to that,” Poles said. “So to do that, that means we have less picks and I don’t know if we’re in that situation to do that. If something crazy happens, we’re always going to stay active, but at this moment I find it hard that we can get back into the fourth.”
With third-round pick, Bears select Tennessee WR Velus Jones
With their third pick of the night, the Bears selected Tennessee receiver Velus Jones with a third-round pick (71st overall) on Friday.
Jones was a significant part of the Tennessee offense last season and was the SEC co-special teams player of the year. He led the SEC in kick return yards, including a 96-yard kick return touchdown.
As a receiver, Jones caught 62 passes for 807 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He played two years at Tennessee after transferring from USC.
Bears draft Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker
After taking a cornerback with their first pick at No. 39 overall, the Bears took another defensive back at No. 48 on Friday. They drafted Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker with their second pick of the second round.
Brisker was a second-team All-American last season at Penn State. In three years at Penn State, Brisker had five interceptions and 19 passes defended.
He fills a need for the Bears, who must find a starting safety to play alongside veteran Eddie Jackson. The team signed free agent Dane Cruikshank, he’s not a guaranteed starter. Brisker should compete for a starting spot.
Bears draft Washington CB Kyler Gordon with 39th overall pick
With the 39th overall draft pick, the Bears have selected Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon.
At 5-foot-11, 194 pounds, Gordon isn’t the biggest of defensive backs, but he possesses the athletic traits that NFL teams will drool over.
He had a true breakout season as a redshirt junior in 2021, when he started 12 games and totaled 46 tackles, two interceptions, nine passes defended, one forced fumble and one tackle for loss. He led Washington in both passes defended and interceptions last season. His performance earned him first-team All-Pac 12 honors. He was primarily an outside cornerback in college, but did line up in the slot at times.
The Bears needed more help at the cornerback position. They have 2020 second-round pick Jaylon Johnson starting at one outside cornerback spot but will need another starter to complement Johnson.
The Bears came into the night holding the 39th, 48th and 71st overall picks.
For second day in a row, Vikings trade within NFC North
The Vikings traded the 34th overall pick to the Packers on Friday night. For the second day in a row, Minnesota traded down with a fellow NFC North opponent. The Packers sent the Vikings two second-round picks in the deal and went on to select North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson.
On Thursday, the Vikings executed a trade with the Lions, which enabled Detroit to grab receiver Jameson Williams with the 12th overall pick.
Day two begins at 6 p.m.; top 50 remaining prospects
It’s finally time for Bears fans to perk up after a slow opening round Thursday night. The Bears should wind up with several new players on the roster Friday.
The second and third rounds of the NFL draft commence at 6 p.m. Friday. Entering Friday, the Bears currently hold the 39th, 48th and 71st overall picks, plus three additional picks on Saturday.
Shaw Local Senior Bears Analyst Hub Arkush put together his top 50 remaining prospects entering the second round. Read the full list here.
First round wraps up, Bears await 39th pick
An eventful night from the NFL draft wrapped up Friday. The trades were flying fast and furious, but the Bears remained quiet all night. That should change fairly quickly Friday night, when the Bears hold the 39th, 48th and 71st overall picks.
Top wide receivers available include North Dakota State’s Christian Watson, Georgia’s George Pickens, South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert and Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore, among others.
On the offensive line, Central Michigan tackle Bernhard Raimann, Kentucky guard Darian Kinnard, Georgia guard Jamaree Salyer and Minnesota tackle Daniel Faalele are the top available players remaining, among others.
At defensive back, Baylor safety Jalen Pitre, Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth, Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker, Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon and Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary remain on the board, among others.
Draft night goes wild on wide receivers
Thursday is a night for receivers.
Six wide receivers were drafted in the first 18 overall picks. Two veteran receivers were included in trades, including the blockbuster deal that sent star A.J. Brown from Tennessee to Philadelphia. The Baltimore Ravens also sent Marquise Brown to the Cardinals in a trade.
The situation is not looking promising for teams in need of receivers that haven’t picked yet, notably the Packers and the Chiefs. It’s not shaping up well for the Bears at No. 39.
In the draft, USC’s Drake London went eighth overall to Atlanta, Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson went 10th to the Jets, Ohio State’s Chris Olave went 11th to New Orleans, Alabama’s Jameson Williams went 12th to Detroit, Penn State’s Jahan Dotson went 16th to Washington and Arkansas’ Treylon Burks went 18th to Tennessee.
Vikings, Lions swap picks
The Lions and the Vikings executed an all-NFC North division trade. The Lions traded up for the 12th overall pick and selected Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams.
The Lions, who already selected edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 overall pick, gave up overall picks No. 32, 34 and 66 in exchange for the Vikings’ No. 12 and 46.
The Vikings trade: Pick 12, pick 46
The Lions trade: Pick 32, 34, 66
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 29, 2022
Giants use seventh overall pick on Alabama OT Evan Neal
The Giants made use of the extra first-round pick they added a year ago when the Bears traded up to select quarterback Justin Fields.
The Giants took Alabama tackle Evan Neal with the seventh overall pick, the pick that originally belonged to the Bears. On draft night last year, the Bears traded last year’s 20th overall pick, a 2021 fifth-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick (seventh overall) and a 2022 fourth-round pick to the New York Giants in exchange for last year’s 11th overall pick.
EVAN NEAL BABY!!!!!
— New York Giants (@Giants) April 29, 2022
Top five picks are all defensive players
Each of the top five picks Thursday night was a defensive player. This was the first time that happened since 1991. In the 1991 draft, the top six players were all defensive players.
On Thursday, Jacksonville took edge rusher Travon Walker at No. 1 overall, Detroit took edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson with the second pick, Houston selected cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. with the third pick, the Jets took cornerback Ahmad Gardner fourth overall and the Giants took edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with the fifth pick.
Jaguars select Travon Walker No. 1 overall; Lions take Aidan Hutchinson
The Jaguars kicked off the draft by selecting Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker with the first overall pick. The Jaguars had the No. 1 overall pick for the second year in a row. A year ago, they took quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the top pick.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) April 29, 2022
The Jaguars’ selection allowed the Detroit Lions to take hometown hero Aidan Hutchinson, who led Michigan to the College Football Playoff last season, with the second overall pick. Hutchinson went to high school in Dearborn, Michigan, just outside Detroit.
He could be wreaking havoc on NFC North defenses for years to come.
Lions got a sure thing as a team leader and great all around player, but I have my doubts he’ll be a consistent double-digit sack guy? Best comp might be Maxx Crosby or Sam Hubbard, although Hutchinson is a superior athlete and sacrilegious as it is to compare him to a Buckeye 😎
— Hub Arkush (@Hub_Arkush) April 29, 2022
When is the draft and how can I watch it?
The draft takes place in Las Vegas this year, where it was supposed to be held in 2020. All three days of the draft will be carried on ABC, ESPN and the NFL Network.
Round 1: 7 p.m. Thursday
Rounds 2-3: 6 p.m. Friday
Rounds 4-7: 11 a.m. Saturday
When do the Bears pick?
The Bears hold six total picks entering the draft. A year ago, former general manager Ryan Pace traded last year’s 20th overall pick, a 2021 fifth-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick (now slotted as seventh overall) and a 2022 fourth-round pick to the New York Giants in exchange for last year’s 11th overall pick. The trade enabled the Bears to draft Fields, but left them without a first-round pick this year.
Here are the picks the Bears currently hold (as of Thursday):
- 2nd round: 39th overall
- 2nd round: 48th overall (from the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for OLB Khalil Mack)
- 3rd round: 71st overall
- 5th round: 148th overall (from the Houston Texans in exchange for WR Anthony Miller)
- 5th round: 150th overall
- 6th round: 186th overall
As mentioned above, the Bears’ original first- and fourth-round picks now belong to the Giants. They also swapped their seventh-round pick for a fifth-round pick in the trade that sent receiver Anthony Miller to Houston. The Texans have since traded that seventh-round pick (228th overall) to the Green Bay Packers.
What to expect from new Bears GM Ryan Poles?
General manager Ryan Poles and his staff spent the past several weeks preparing their draft board following months of scouting. He detailed what that process looks like here.
Everything Poles has done since taking over in January has been about setting up the team for the future, not so much setting it up to succeed in 2022. His first big move was to trade Pro Bowl pass rusher Khalil Mack for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick. The move freed up a huge amount of salary cap space in 2023 and beyond.
The Bears were then conservative in free agency. They did not sign anyone to more than a two-year contract. The one big deal they made, a three-year agreement for defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, fell through when Ogunjobi failed his physical.
So what does all that mean for the draft?
It means the Bears still have numerous holes in their 2022 roster. It means Poles is looking at this team through a wide lens. It also means the positions he drafts this weekend might not be the positions that the general public perceives as the Bears’ biggest needs.
Poles, a former offensive lineman himself, has been vocal about wanting to build through the trenches. Don’t be surprised if the Bears use a high draft pick on a lineman, even though the roster looks slim at wide receiver.
“There’s always more work” to do on the offensive line, Poles said this week. Besides the offensive line and receiver, the Bears also have needs at cornerback and safety.
It’s entirely possible the Bears trade down in order to acquire additional picks. Teams will likely come calling about that 39th overall pick. When the first round ends Thursday, general managers have nearly 24 hours to stare at their draft boards and see who’s available. If the right prospect falls to the second round, the Bears could find themselves fielding phone calls for that pick.
Poles was clear that he would be open to it should the right trade partner emerge.
Get to know the top prospects
Shaw Local Senior Bears Analyst Hub Arkush has analyzed hundreds of draft prospects. He has ranked players at every position. Get to know the prospects here.
Who might be on the Bears’ radar? It’s tough – nearly impossible, really – to say. Even so, here is one prospect at each position to keep an eye on.
QB Bailey Zappe | RB Kyren Williams | WR George Pickens | TE Cade Otton | OT Max Mitchell | OG Jamaree Salyer | DT Phidarian Mathis | Edge Tyreke Smith | LB Leo Chenal | CB Kyler Gordon | S Dane Belton
Source: The Daily Chronicle