Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus believes that the Bears unearthed two hidden gems on the third and final day of last week's NFL Draft.
In an article on ESPN.com in which he identifies 10 late-round steals, Renner includes Bears sixth-round picks Khalil Herbert, a running back from Virginia Tech, and Thomas Graham Jr., a cornerback from Oregon.
The Bears traded down nine spots in the sixth round before selecting Herbert at No. 217. They obtained a seventh-round pick (No. 250) in the trade with the Seahawks that they spent on BYU nose tackle Khyiris Tonga.
Herbert played four seasons at Kansas from 2016-19 before transferring to Virginia Tech last year. In 46 career games, he rushed for 2,918 yards and 22 touchdowns on 475 carries and caught 34 passes for 297 yards and 1 TD.
Last year Herbert appeared in 11 games for the Hokies, ranking fifth in the nation in rushing with 1,182 yards and eight TDs on 154 carries and catching 10 passes for 179 yards and one TD. He also averaged 26.9 yards on 16 kickoff returns.
"Herbert's 2020 breakout was no fluke," Renner wrote. "We got a glimpse of that guy in 2019, when he averaged 9.2 yards per carry and broke 18 tackles on 42 attempts before leaving Kansas at midseason. After transferring to Virginia Tech, Herbert lit it up with 1,172 yards on only 155 carries and averaged 4.7 yards per carry after contact.
"Herbert has legit home run speed and even had a kick return score called back this past season. At 5-foot-9 and 212 pounds, he has the ideal body type to contribute on any down when called upon."
The Bears later chose Graham with the last pick in the sixth round at No. 228. Before opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, he appeared in 40 games over three seasons at Oregon, registering 183 tackles, eight interceptions, 10.5 tackles-for-loss and 32 pass breakups.
Graham was known for his play-making ability and ball skills with the Ducks. Before opting out, he would have entered his senior season as the FBS leader in pass breakups and was tied for seventh among active FBS players in interceptions.
"Graham was lights out in coverage over his final two seasons, earning a PFF coverage grade of 79.8 in 2018 and 82.9 in 2019," Renner wrote. "He ranked in the top 10 among FBS cornerbacks in both passing stops (23) and plays made on the ball (29) in those two years combined. The 5-foot-10, 192-pounder is a patient corner with balanced and nimble feet who also attacks the catch point incredibly well. And his flat-footed breaks are superb.
"We saw Graham as a third-round prospect, but the Bears -- who were already in the running for having the best draft of all 32 franchises -- swooped in and got him with the final pick of the sixth round. He should be a fantastic fit in a Chicago defense that will be bursting with [Vic] Fangio's influence under new defensive coordinator Sean Desai."
Fields, Jenkins, Borom, Herbert, Newsome, Graham & Tonga. See photos of all the new Bears rookies selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.