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NFL Draft: Five top players still available for the Bears after round one

Nicholas Moreano Avatar
April 29, 2022

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While teams were trading up in the draft on Thursday night, the Bears were looking down and up their big board, calculating how the first round would end. 

At the end of the night, there were nine draft-day trades – with three of those trades involving taking a receiver. In all, nine offensive linemen, seven defensive linemen, seven defensive backs, six receivers, two linebackers and one quarterback were taken on Day 1. 

Despite the trades and the run on receivers from picks 8-12, there are still plenty of Day 1 starters left for the Bears to pick from at No. 39 in the second round. 

Here are five players at different positions the Bears should consider drafting: 

1. CB Kyler Gordon, Washington 

Admittedly, I didn’t believe Gordon would be available after the first round.

The 5-foot-11, 194-pound cornerback has the ability to line up outside and in the slot, which should give defensive coordinator Alan Willams some flexibility. Gordon also fits perfectly with what the Bears want to run in their Cover-2 scheme, being that he is a willing tackler and someone who will challenge wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. 

Although Gordon’s teammate, Trent McDuffie, was selected No. 21 overall by the Chiefs, the former kung-fu martial artist and competitive dancer still made his impact felt for the Huskies’ defense. Gordon allowed just a 12.8 passing rating in man coverage last season, according to Pro Football Focus. 

If Gordon is available when the Bears are on the clock, general manager Ryan Poles has an opportunity to add a Day 1 starter opposite of Jaylon Johnson.

(Make sure to check out the in-depth breakdown on Gordon here.)

2. WR George Pickens, Georgia

I think it’s safe to say that Pickens is the consensus fan favorite among Bears fans, especially when you see the reactions on the CHGO Live Mock Draft Show.

Pickens would provide the Bears with an “X” receiver that is currently missing on the roster. For the Bulldogs, he proved to be a reliable target, finishing with a 2.1 percent career drop rate, according to PFF. 

In addition to having sure hands, Pickens also showed he can be a physical blocker in the run game, displaying that he is willing to do anything asked of him at the wide receiver position.

One of the goals in this draft should be to surround second-year quarterback Justin Fields with playmakers. Adding a sure-handed vertical threat in Pickens would help accomplish that goal and also add a nice compliment to Darnell Mooney. 

(Make sure to check out the in-depth breakdown on Pickens here.)

3. DL Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma 

Here is another one of my favorite players still available for the Bears. Winfrey is a disruptive 3-tech that uses his quick first step to make plays in the backfield. The former Sooner finished with 11 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks last season. 

The 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive linemen also displayed great effort, especially as the backside defender. That relentlessness should align with what coach Matt Eberflus is trying to instill in his players with the “H.I.T.S” philosophy. 

When the Bears tried to sign Larry Ogunjobi to a three-year, $40.5 million deal, the organization showed its hand on how important it valued the position. Chicago signed Justin Jones as an alternative, but Winfrey could be the difference maker that is required at the position. 

(Make sure to check out the in-depth breakdown on Winfrey here.)

4. OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan 

Coming into the draft, the Bears desperately needed to add players to their offensive line. After the Packers selected Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt and the Lions drafted Aidan Hutchinson, the need became even greater for Chicago. 

Despite only starting 18 games at left tackle for Central Michigan, Raimann showed his agile footwork and ability to mirror pass rushers. Raimann did start off as a tight end at Central Michigan, but he gained 60 pounds from his freshman to senior year and still kept his athleticism. 

Larry Borom and Teven Jenkins are slotted to start at the tackles positions, but the Bears need to bring in competition. Raimann is still an overall raw prospect, but he provides plenty of upside, which should be enough for the Bears to consider him in the second round. 

(Make sure to check out the in-depth breakdown on Raimann here.)

5. LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

This may not be the biggest need for the Bears, but taking Dean at No. 39 would correlate with taking the best player available. Last season, Dean was a unanimous All-American for a Championship Bulldogs defense and finished with 72 total tackles, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and 8 passes defensed. 

Dean possesses the sideline-to-sideline speed that can help him cover ground in the run game and get to his spots in pass coverage. He also showed great play recognition, especially when offenses ran screen plays.

Pairing Dean with a Roquan Smith would give an opposing offense fits with the speed each of the former Bulldogs possesses. Yes, the Bears did sign Nicholas Morrow, who could be a decent player in this defense. But Dean could easily become a difference maker for a defense that is looking to add more at each position. 

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