2022 NFL draft: Chicago Bears position previews – Chicago Bears Wire

The Chicago Bears are coming off a disappointing 2021 season that ushered in the start of a new era with general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus. The hope is this Ryan-Matt duo will be able to guide the Bears  back to relevance.
With the NFL draft fast approaching, Poles still has plenty of work to do with the current roster, which features some glaring holes at positions of need. Positions like wide receiver, offensive line and cornerback remain huge concerns.
Here at Bears Wire, we went position by position to break down where Chicago stands ahead of the 2022 NFL draft.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
For all intents and purposes, Justin Fields would be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft this year. Luckily for the Bears, they traded up to nab him with the 11th overall selection in last year’s draft, which has Chicago with its hopeful franchise quarterback in place heading into the 2022 season. For the first time in awhile, quarterback is the least of the Bears’ worries. And that has everything to do with having a talented young QB on a rookie deal in place. — Alyssa Barbieri
>> Read our full QB draft preview
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The Bears have several needs on offense, but running back isn’t one of them. With David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert in place, Chicago is sitting in a good place at running back. They also have depth in Darrynton Evans, who’s flashed potential, as well as added a fullback in Khari Blasingame to aid the run game. Next year will be a different story, as Montgomery is slated to become a free agent. While Montgomery has been a leader on offense, it’s unlikely Chicago will re-sign him to the kind of contract he’s seeking when running backs tend to be a dime a dozen. — Alyssa Barbieri
>> Read our full RB draft preview
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
While the Bears are certainly in a much better position at wide receiver than they were at the start of free agency, there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done. Darnell Mooney projects as the top wideout while Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown are depth options. They essentially have three locks for the 53-man roster in Mooney, Pringle and St. Brown, and they still have a glaring hole at WR2/3. It’s a need that will undoubtedly be addressed in the NFL draft, where the only question is when do they select a wideout — first pick, second round or third round? — Alyssa Barbieri
>> Read our full WR draft preview
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Prior to the last couple of weeks, you could have made an argument that tight end was a much bigger need than people realized. With Jesper Horsted back in the fold and the additions of Ryan Griffin and James O’Shaughnessy to join Cole Kmet, the position at least has some depth. But with four players on the roster, more could be done in the draft. The question is, will it be a priority when the Bears begin making selections? — Brendan Sugrue
>> Read our full TE draft preview
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
The offensive line remains a top priority for Poles heading into the NFL draft, where they could look to address both offensive tackle and offensive guard. While Poles added a couple of offensive linemen in free agency, there are still questions about who will occupy the starting tackle and right guard spots, as well as right guard. Chicago could certainly use one of their two second-round picks on an offensive lineman. — Alyssa Barbieri
>> Read our full OL draft preview
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps
The Bears have greater immediate needs that edge rusher, but that doesn’t mean the position shouldn’t be addressed heading into the NFL draft. More than anything, the concern is about building for the future. Robert Quinn will be 32 at the start of the 2022 season. While Al-Quadin Muhammad will still be in his prime at 28, he’s not necessarily a long-term option. But aside from Trevis Gipson, there are questions about Chicago’s edge rushers in the long run. Which is why it’s certainly a position that could be targeted in the NFL draft — should the right guy fall to them. — Alyssa Barbieri 
>> Read our full EDGE draft preview
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
When you look at where the Bears defensive line stands heading into the 2022 season, it’s hard to not be a little concerned, especially along the interior. Chicago lost three starters this offseason, and they’re turning to Justin Jones and Khyiris Tonga (who would be a first-time starter) to anchor the middle of the defensive line. With that said, there are more pressing needs this season. The Bears could be set with the interior defensive line in 2022, but it remains a concern looking to the future. — Alyssa Barbieri 
>> Read our full iDL draft preview
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
With the Bears transitioning to a 4-3 base defense, there’s an even greater importance at the linebacker position. Now, Chicago has two starting positions to fill alongside Roquan Smith. Nicholas Morrow figures to serve as one of those starters, but there’s still another starting role up for grabs. The Bears recently hosted free agent linebacker Anthony Hitchens for a visit. He’s someone who could be the short-term answer at linebacker. It’s also a position that should be addressed in the draft. — Alyssa Barbieri 
>> Read our full LB draft preview
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
It’s fair to say the Bears cornerback position was the weak link of the defense last season and it’s not close. Though Tavon Young should provide an upgrade at the nickel position if he stays healthy, there are still unknowns outside of Jaylon Johnson. Even if someone like Thomas Graham Jr. continues to rise, the Bears still lack adequate depth at one of the most crucial positions. It’s entirely possible one of the two second-round picks the Bears own will be used on a cornerback. — Brendan Sugrue
>> Read our full CB draft preview
USA Today Sports
For a hot minute, it seemed as if the Bears solved their safety woes with Eddie Jackson becoming an All-Pro player back in 2018. But since he signed his contract extension after the 2019 season, he hasn’t come close to that same player. The Bears have also cycled through a few veterans that have played opposite of Jackson, unable to create a dynamic duo in the secondary. Still, with other holes and needs, it’s likely the Bears wait to address the position group until late in the NFL Draft, as well as rely on undrafted free agents after the fact. — Brendan Sugrue
>> Read our full S draft preview
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
For the first time in awhile, Chicago’s special teams are going to look a little different. With Pat O’Donnell in Green Bay, Cairo Santos and Patrick Scales are the only returning specialists in 2022. There’s no doubt their starting jobs are locked down, although it’s certainly fair to wonder if the Bears could look elsewhere for punter. Right now, Ryan Winslow is the guy. But with some intriguing options in the NFL draft — and what will become undrafted free agency — perhaps we could see a little punter competition during training camp.
>> Read our full ST draft preview
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Christopher Jones
Christopher Jones
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