The State of the Bears:
With a new head coach in Matt Eberflus and a second year quarterback in Justin Fields, the Bears are in a transition period and need to find a clear direction. As a defensive-minded coach takes over, they will likely get back to the physical play the organization is known for.
After using their 2022 first round pick to move up and get Justin Fields, they will have to wait until pick No. 39 to make their first selection this year. They need to hit on solid starters and get some building blocks to put them in a position to take over a division that could be in flux in the very near future.
Ojabo is an excellent athlete with the speed, range, bend, and flexibility to be a force as a pass-rush specialist, but he needs to get stronger and just see more reps in order to develop into an all-around player at the next level.
Ojabo gives the Bears their stud edge of the future and can afford to let him get back to full health after he tore his Achilles in the draft process.
Mafe has the hand use and freaky athleticism teams covet in edge defenders, but he will have to work on his pad level and round out his pass rushing plan of attack to reach his potential as a three-down starter.
Though he will be on the field in 2022, Mafe has a lot of refinement needed and could turn into an All-Pro if he fulfills his potential.
Pickens is a big-bodied, big-play threat whose hands, tracking ability and competitiveness will make him a consistent contributor, especially once he learns an NFL route tree and if he becomes more dynamic after the catch.
Pickens has the ability to contribute early on, as well as develop a relationship with Justin Fields that could turn into one of the best tandems in the league.
Leal is an athletic and agile defensive lineman at his size, who offers great versatility as a pass rusher but needs to work on his interior run defense to keep that flexibility on all three downs.
Getting pressure up the middle is needed in today’s NFL and Leal is as good as anyone doing so in this draft.
Winfrey’s positional versatility, power, and pass rush ability will give him a chance to make an impact early on, but his body control and agility will need to improve for him to become a three-down player.
After terrorizing every opponent at the Senior Bowl, Winfrey showed he has skills that might mean his best football is ahead of him in a role more suited to what he does best.
Bonitto is an athletic, rangy, bendy pass rusher who should excel at getting to the passer with his lack of strength and run game stoutness limiting him to just third downs early in his career at the next level.
If the Bears wait on an edge, Bonitto is a pass rush specialist that could step right into the shoes of Robert Quinn.
Ross has the combination of size, athleticism, and quick-twitch to contribute in a variety of ways in a receiving room at the next level, but must overcome injury and production concerns to do so.
After an all-world freshman season, injuries hindered Ross’s development, but the Bears can take a gamble in efforts to to have a true no. 1 option in a few years.
To learn more about the Bears and their needs, visit their team page on our NFL Draft website here.