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Will and Nick's post-draft roundtable: Is this the start of something special for the Bears?

Will DeWitt: Alright, Nick, I’m excited you and I get to talk a little bit about the 2022 Chicago Bears’ draft class. I’m just curious, if you had to give a couple word answer here about what Ryan Poles was able to accomplish, what is it?

Nicholas Moreano: I think just accumulating picks, Will. They were supposed to draft six players, and they ended up with 11. So it was pretty impressive to see what Ryan Poles was able to do, especially on day three, starting early on and getting all those picks.

W: Yeah, accumulation, right. That’s the word that sticks out to me. And the fact that he did it so well, on the third day when things were so quiet Day 2 really surprised me in perhaps the best way possible.

Let’s go and look at Day 2. Obviously, the Bears got some guys that can contribute right away. Who’s your favorite prospect that day that they were able to kind of draft?

N: I’m sure if fans have been watching the podcast they’ll know I’m going to say Kyler Gordon. That was someone I identified early on in the draft process, got to talk to him at the NFL Scouting Combine. And then when you watch the tape and see what he can do, and seeing that the Bears were able to get him at 39, it just made so much sense.

Gordon is a corner who is going to start Day 1 opposite of Jaylon Johnson and fits that cover-2 scheme. When you watch his tape, he’s always looking to try to cause a fumble, something that fits perfectly with what Matt Eberflus is trying to bring to this Bears defense. So, definitely got to go with my guy Kyler Gordon.

W: For me, I love Brisker. I think he’s gonna be a real stud in this Bears secondary. But I have to go with Velus Jones Jr. here for me just because he’s someone that I identified in the pre-draft process. I love the versatility that he’s going to bring to the table. On special teams he’s a return man, both kickoffs and punt return. He’s electric in that regard. Someone that can be a gunner. Remember Cordarrelle Patterson? How he was always the first man down there on punts? I think Velus Jones Jr. is going to do just that. And they went to the same school at Tennessee as well. So that’s another kind of parallel that I’m drawing.

Then just Jones’ ability to make plays after the catch. He had the most yards after the catch in the entire draft class per reception. Last year he averaged over eight yards after the reception. And when you look at what Ryan Poles saw in Kansas City, he had two guys in the top 10 last year with yards after the catch in Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman. So I think he knows how important it is on offense to have guys that can make plays with the football in his hands. He’s a physical tone-setting type, which is different than what they already have on the roster. I’m a big fan of Velus Jones Jr.

N: Yeah, that’s a guy that the Bears needed to go draft, especially addressing the offensive side, but I liked that we went with our guys. We identified these guys in the pre-draft process, the Bears went and got them. So of course, they are our favorites.

W: What about Day 3? Things get a little bit more, I guess wild because of all those additional picks that we mentioned that Poles was able to provide the Bears here. He had plenty of shots to take, which one do you think could have been like that home run or that slam dunk.

N: I’m really interested to see how a guy like Dominique Robinson from Miami of Ohio can do in this Bears defense because in the pressers that Eberflus and Poles gave throughout the weekend they talked about the coaches being teachers. That’s exactly what Dominique Robinson is going to need if he’s going to take that next step in the NFL. He’s just super raw at his position coming into college as a dual-threat quarterback then being a receiver then finally go into the edge.

But he showed out at the Senior Bowl, Will. Someone that I saw just on my radar and like I said on the podcast on Saturday is built like a Greek god. He’s got the build, he’s got the frame, he’s got also the mindset to want to develop into a good pass rusher and is modeling his game after some of the top guys in the league right now. Robinson can be a contributor if he gets the right coaching.

W: That man I will say oozes with potential. I like him a lot. Someone that as you know I mocked to the Bears too, and he’s a player that I expect coach Eberflus and his staff to coach up and give it some time, the ceiling is so high for that kid. It’s really exciting to say the least.

For me, a player that I’m maybe getting a little bit higher on is like a Trestan Ebner, the running back out of Baylor just because he is that true scheme fit. A big proponent of that outside zone, has the vision, the patience and the burst needed to be a difference-maker within it. And again, the Bears have now brought in two running backs this offseason. You already had Khalil Herbert. And then of course, David Montgomery, who’s up for a contract after this season. I don’t know if this is them just getting a failsafe in place or to them kind of playing the long game here, already kind of knowing that Montgomery perhaps won’t be a Bear after next season.

Ebner is always looking to make the big play and just like Velus Jones Jr., he has return capabilities. So having multiple guys on this roster that can do so and be impactful in that way is just another way that Poles was able to add versatile players. To me, you can’t have too many guys that can return the football.

N: No, you definitely can’t that was a theme of this draft class, a special teams component that a lot of these guys bring to this roster. So that Matt Eberflus, Ryan Poles can evaluate them because they can actually dress on game day. I do like that a lot of these guys add that extra element and can contribute on the third phase.

W: Okay, so I just want to have some fun here to kind of wrap up this roundtable. If you had to bet, give me one of these rookies. If one of them is going to make the Pro Bowl, who’s doing it first?

N: That’s a good question. You know what, I want to say my guy Kyler Gordon, but there’s so much competition at the cornerback position in the NFL, so I’m going to say Brisker. I think that’s a guy that could be an enforcer on the back end of that defense. He does have a knack for taking away the football. Has those instincts. If I had to put my money on it, I’m going with Brisker as being that Pro Bowl guy.

W: Well screw it, you pass on your guy, I’m taking him — Kyler Gordon. He has the ball skills. If they’re gonna be looking at Jaylen Johnson and go, ‘Oh, no, we’re not gonna throw that way. Let’s go pick on the rookie,’ I think he’s going to make them pay. He’s someone that has the best potential to get there ahead of some of the others in this draft class.

Who is the under-the-radar guy, a player that maybe we’re not even giving a lot of attention to right now that could perhaps find a starting role or be a Chicago Bear for quite some time?

N: I’m going to say it, the last pick of the draft Trenton Gill, the punter. To be completely honest, Will, because there’s not obviously a lot of competition at that position. And it’s somebody that doesn’t really have much to really compete with to get that starting job. So, if I’m looking at somebody that can have longevity in this league and with the bears, I’m gonna go with Trenton Gill.

W: All right, I’m torn between two myself. I’m gonna go with Doug Kramer, the center out of Illinois, who grew up a diehard Chicago Bears fan. He just has all the tools that you’re looking for in terms of the intangibles, the leadership, the football IQ. I know he’s not the biggest, he doesn’t have that position versatility. But if he’s someone that sits maybe on the practice squad for a year or in a reserve role, learns from Lucas Patrick and kind of gets coached up a bit, I see him as the Bears’ center for quite some time.

N: We need to get Doug Kramer with Olin Kreutz to just kind of coach him up a little. I think that’s gonna happen at some point. And when it does, it’s going to be for the better.

W : Alright, let’s kind of put a bow on this, looking at this entire draft as a whole, what are your thoughts when look at the big picture?

N: For me, it’s impressive again what Ryan Poles was able to do coming into this draft with just six picks and then ending up with 11. You got to give credit to Ryan Poles and the scouting staff, the coaching staff, the organization for being able to do that. I’m still wondering who else they’re going to add in here for Justin Fields in terms of weapons. Yes, Velus Jones, Jr. was added, which is a great addition for that offense, but I still want to see some more being done there.

Ryan Poles was able to go get his offensive line guys and on Day 3, and he did a really good job of that. But I’m still waiting to see how that plays out. He got immediate starters in that secondary. If people were coming into this draft saying how it’s going to shape out and this was a scenario, I think the consensus from a lot of Bears fans is that they liked this draft, which is a good start for this organization.

W: It really does surprise me, because after Day 2, people were kind of on the fence. Fans really wanted offensive line, and a receiver here. But Poles stuck to his guns, and he stayed true to his board, which I truly do appreciate. Like you said, bolster the secondary, having guys that can contribute right away. Even though they’re like, hey, they’re game ready now, they have high ceilings too. There’s a lot they can improve to only become better. Then when you look at what he’s able to do on Day 3, with turning three picks into eight.

If 50 percent of those Day 3 picks hit, this is gonna be a hell of a draft class for Poles. For it to be only his first one, it’s exciting cause he’s only gonna get better, Nick. He doesn’t even have all his own scouts. He’s a big fan of what the Bears already had in place. But he’s going to continue to refine it. When they get into the future, it could even get better. But this is a good class, overall, top to bottom, guys that can contribute right away, a couple guys in round five with super high ceilings, all the potential in the world. When you’re looking at rounds six and seven, you’re getting guys that maybe you can develop and we’ll see. They have that upside too.

N: Ryan Poles came in with the plan and they stuck to it. And they executed really well. He kind of talked about that in his press conference on Saturday that the execution was phenomenal. One of the best he’s been a part of, and again, he came from Kansas City, and that’s a pretty damn good organization over there. So it’s nice to see that even in Year 1 and him just being in the GM job for a couple of months now, he’s able to execute this plan, articulate to everybody else. And look what they come up with. 11 draft picks that they can be proud of, and we’ll see what they end up being in the near future.

W: And we haven’t mentioned it yet. We talked about all the talent these kids have. But when you look at the list, culture fit, culture fit, leader, team-first player, overcame adversity, proving resiliency. All these other traits that they have mentioned weigh heavily in their draft boards and how they grade some of these prospects. I can see they stayed true to their board and what they told us. We’re going to get guys that fit what we’re building here in Chicago, and each and every one of these players does. That’s just another reason why Bears fans should be elated about the overall product that is the 2022 Chicago Bears draft class.

N: Couldn’t have said it better myself, Will.

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