Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
How many picks do the Bears have in the 2022 NFL Draft?
The Bears have five picks in the 2022 draft: Their own selections in Rounds 2, 3, 5 and 6 and an additional fifth-rounder they obtained in a trade that sent receiver Anthony Miller to the Texans. The Bears dealt their first- and fourth-round picks to the Giants last April to move up nine spots in the first round to choose quarterback Justin Fields at No. 11. They also sent their seventh-round selection to the Texans in the Miller trade. The Bears' first pick in the 2022 draft will be the seventh choice in the second round, 39th overall. If they don't trade the pick, it would be the fourth time in eight years they've drafted a player at No. 39. The previous selections were nose tackle Eddie Goldman (2015), guard James Daniels (2018) and tackle Teven Jenkins (2021).
Where do the Bears rank in strength of schedule for the 2022 season?
The Bears' 17 opponents in 2022 combined for a 135-152-2 record in 2021, a .471 winning percentage that ties the Bears for the eighth least difficult schedule in 2022. The only teams with an easier slate are the Cowboys (.462) Washington Football Team (.462), Eagles (.464), Giants (.465), Lions (.467), Colts (.469) and Jaguars (.469). The Packers (.478) have the 11th easiest schedule; the Vikings (.484) the 13th. The Rams (.567) have the most difficult slate, followed by the Cardinals (.543), Bengals (.536), Buccaneers (.535), 49ers (.533) and Chiefs (.533).
In addition to home and road games against NFC North rivals the Lions (3-13-1 in 2021), Packers (13-4) and Vikings (8-9) in 2022, the Bears will host the Eagles (9-8), Washington Football Team (7-10), 49ers (10-7), Bills (11-6), Dolphins (9-8) and Texans (4-13); and visit the Cowboys (12-5), Giants (4-13), Falcons (7-10), Patriots (10-7) and Jets (4-13).
Check out the Bears' home and away matchups for the 2022 season.
What do you think was the biggest surprise of the 2021 season?
North Chicago, Illinois
I don't think there were a lot of surprises, at least not when you compare the 2021 season to 2020. For example, the offense continued to struggle scoring touchdowns, the defense played well at times but was unable to generate a lot of takeaways, and Cairo Santos had another strong season kicking field goals. For me, the biggest surprise was the amazing performance of veteran outside linebacker Robert Quinn. If you know anyone who predicted that he would set a new Bears' single-season sack record with 18.5, I'd like that person to select some lottery numbers for me. I doubt anyone saw that coming for Quinn, especially after he was limited to a career-low 2.0 sacks in 2020. But he performed at an All-Pro level throughout the 2021 season, and not only as a pass rusher; he was excellent defending the run as well. And much of Quinn's production came without injured perennial Pro Bowler Khalil Mack on the field.
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.