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Bears Draft Primer

Who analysts predict Bears will draft

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With the NFL Draft kicking off in exactly one week, here's a sampling of what analysts are projecting the Bears will do with their two second-round selections, the latter of which was acquired from the Chargers in last month's Khalil Mack trade.

Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 14)
No. 39: North Dakota State receiver Christian Watson
No. 48: Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey

Walter Cherepinsky, WalterFootball.com (April 19)
No. 39: Cincinnati receiver Alec Pierce
Comment: The Bears lost Allen Robinson to the Rams, so they have nothing at receiver beyond Darnell Mooney. The 6-3 Alec Pierce has a great size and speed combination.

No. 48: Ohio State tackle Nick Petit-Frere
Comment: The Bears already had offensive line woes, and that was before losing James Daniels in free agency. They need an upgrade at nearly every position up front. Nick Petit-Frere has moved from right tackle to the blind side this year and has played very well.

C.J. Doon, Baltimore Sun (April 20)
No. 39: Georgia receiver George Pickens
No. 48: Texas A&M guard/tackle Kenyon Green

Luke Easterling, USA Today (April 14)
No. 39: Georgia receiver George Pickens
No. 48: Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports (April 20)
No. 39: Texas A&M guard/tackle Kenyon Green
No. 48: Minnesota tackle Daniel Faalele

Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire (April 2)
No. 39: Texas A&M guard Kenyon Green
No. 48: Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon

Shane Hallam, Draft Countdown (April 4)
No. 39: Georgia receiver George Pickens
No. 48: Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr.

Oliver Hodgkinson, Pro Football Network (April 2)
No. 39: Traded to Falcons for No. 43 and 74 picks.
No. 43: Georgia receiver George Pickens
No. 48: Washington State tackle Abraham Lucas

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News (April 21)
No. 39: Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary
Comment: The Bears were terrible at cornerback away from young rising star Jaylon Johnson and need to add a solid coverage option for new defensive-minded head coach Matt Eberflus. McCreary offers good size, physicality and fluidity.

No. 48: Minnesota tackle Daniel Faalele
Comment: The Bears should consider an upside tackle to potentially help Justin Fields given Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom have proved to be shaky bookends. The Australian is an intriguing development athlete.

Mike Kaye, Pro Football Network (April 20)
No. 39: Tulsa tackle Tyler Smith
Comment: If the Bears are going to give Justin Fields a fair shot, they need to protect him properly. Smith can compete for a starting job on the outside.

No. 48: North Dakota State receiver Christian Watson
Comment: The Bears need help at wideout, and Watson has a very high ceiling. He could be a No. 1 receiver for Fields by the end of his rookie season.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN (April 13)
No. 39: Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon
Comment: The Bears could go several ways here, including offensive tackle, wide receiver and guard. With Gordon still available, though, I'd pounce. He has lockdown traits and didn't allow a single touchdown in coverage last season. There has been a great history of teams finding starting corners in the second round, and Gordon has a great chance to play early.

No. 48: Tyler Smith, OT/G, Tulsa
Comment: I mentioned Chicago's offensive line need at No. 39, and Smith could play a role at guard or tackle. He played left tackle for the Golden Hurricane, but some teams view him as a better guard at the next level. He has to be more consistent and work on his technique -- he was called for a whopping 12 penalties last season -- but the tools are there.

Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5)
No. 39: Tulsa tackle Tyler Smith
Comment: Protecting Fields should be high on the priority list, and Smith is the top tackle still on the board. He has franchise-tackle upside but will require time to get there.

No. 48: Trade down with Falcons
Comment: The Bears have only six 2022 picks and lack a first-rounder. So if Atlanta calls and offers a third-rounder (No. 82) to move up from No. 58 to No. 48, new GM Ryan Poles will be intrigued. Chicago needs a receiver, but the Day 2 pool of pass-catchers is deep. And the Falcons, with nine picks this year, have some room to operate if they want to move up to get someone. That's especially true if that someone is a quarterback.

No. 58: South Alabama receiver Jalen Tolbert
Comment: This is a little bit of a reach, but the Bears can't leave Round 2 without a receiver, and Tolbert is smooth with the speed to make vertical plays and produce after the catch. His NFL route tree will take some time to develop, but he would be a high-upside pick. Remember, Allen Robinson II signed with the Rams, leaving Darnell Mooney atop the Bears' depth chart.

Chad Reuter, NFL.com (April 8)
No. 39: Texas A&M guard/tackle Kenyon Green
No. 48: Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey

Nate Tice, The Athletic (April 21)
No. 39: Cincinnati receiver Alec Pierce
Comment: A big ball winner with a volleyball background, Pierce is still developing as a receiver. But he is long and athletic and pulls down 50/50 balls more often than not. He will instantly be a contributor in the red zone for Justin Fields. And he has room to develop into a starting outside receiver.

No. 48: Alabama defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis
Comment: Lacking depth on the defensive line, the Bears go with Mathis to help hold ground up front. Mathis is older and took some time to develop at Alabama, but he has length and can push the pocket both in the run game and as a pass rusher.

Anthony Treash, Pro Football Focus (April 11)
No. 39: Georgia receiver George Pickens
Comment: Pickens was a true-freshman star back in 2019 before injuries derailed his college career. The Georgia receiver went from an 88.0 receiving grade in 2019 to a 71.9 mark in 2020 while dealing with a nagging upper-body injury. Matters got even worse before 2021, as he tore his ACL in the spring, limiting him to just 32 routes for the season. At his peak, Pickens looked like one of the most dominant receivers in the country. He showcased elite hands and routinely hauled in off-target throws with his massive catch radius. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound receiver dropped just two of 139 career targets at Georgia, so there's no denying his ball skills are exceptional. Along with his size, he has the physicality and acceleration teams want in an X receiver. The question is, can he stay healthy?

No. 48: Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary
Comment: McCreary's lack of length and underwhelming athletic testing numbers have sunk his draft stock. The Auburn corner checked in with 28 7/8-inch arms, which would be the shortest among all outside cornerbacks in the NFL right now. Whichever team takes him will likely try him in the slot — where he has played just 105 career snaps — as a result. But I think he deserves a shot on the outside where he dominated in the SEC. The good with McCreary is that he is an advanced corner prospect from a technique standpoint and has proven elite collegiate production. This past season, he was the highest-graded cornerback in the FBS and led the Power Five in pass breakups with 13. Since 2019, he is second to only Ahmad Gardner among FBS corners in coverage grade playing press. The physical traits are concerning, but McCreary has the experience, technique and mindset to succeed in the NFL.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports (April 20)
No. 39: North Dakota State receiver Christian Watson
No. 48: Central Michigan tackle Luke Goedeke

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With the Bears holding two second-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, senior writer Larry Mayer ranks the top 10 Round 2 draft choices in team history.

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Larry Mayer

Bears Senior Writer

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