Breaking down all 11 Bears draft picks

Breaking down all 11 Bears draft picks

A look at all 11 of the Bears’ draft picks:

Round 2, No. 39 overall
Kyler Gordon
Washington CB
5-11, 194 lbs
Age: 22

Background: Gordon grew up in the Seattle area as a competitive dancer and martial artist. He chose to stay home and play for the Huskies rather than attend Notre Dame or any of the Pac-12 powers.

The stats: Gordon redshirted in 2018 and was an all-conference honorable mention as a backup the next two seasons. He had stiff competition — Trent McDuffie, a first-round pick this season, beat him out for the job in 2019. Gordon became the full-time starter last year, intercepting two passes, forcing one fumble and defending nine passes over 12 games. He ran a disappointing 4.52-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine; 22 cornerbacks were faster.

The skinny: The Bears had three major holes entering the draft: wide receiver, offensive line and cornerback. Gordon solves one problem — he figures to start alongside Jaylon Johnson, another Pac-12 product who was picked in the second round.

Round 2, No. 48 overall
Jaquan Brisker
Penn State S
6-1, 206
Age: 23

Background: Brisker was a two-time captain and two-time team MVP as a safety and wide receiver at Gateway High School in suburban Pittsburgh, but had academic issues and played two seasons at Lackawanna Community College to get his desired offer from Penn State.

The stats: Brisker was a two-year starter at Penn State and voted a team captain as a senior in 2021. He led the Nittany Lions with six pass break-ups as a juinior and was third with 57 tackles (33 solo). He made several All-America teams, was first-team All-Big Ten and was Penn State’s defensive MVP as a senior, when he had 64 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and five pass break-ups and fumble recovery.

The skinny: As an aggressive run-stopping safety, Brisker will get an immediate chance to start opposite Eddie Jackson in Matt Eberflus’ defense.

Round 3, No. 71 overall
Velus Jones
Tennessee WR
5-11, 204 lbs
Age: 24

Background: A native of the Mobile, Ala., area, Jones spent four years at USC, the first one as a redshirt and then three more in which he started six total games. He transferred to Tennessee in 2020, but the coronavirus season didn’t count against his eligibility. He posted 807 receiving yards in 2021, more than his previous five seasons combined.

The stats: Only one wide receiver ran a faster 40-yard dash than Jones’ 4.31-second mark at the NFL Scouting Combine. That shows on special teams, where he was the only major-college player to top 700 receiving yards, 500 kick return yards and 200 punt return yards.

The skinny: The Bears finally drafted a receiver, but Jones looks far more like a gadget player and special teamer than an every-down player. He turns 25 in two weeks and his upside should be judged thusly.

Round 5, No. 168 overall
Braxton Jones
Southern Utah OT
6-5, 310 lbs
Age: 23

Background: At 260 pounds and from small Murray, Utah, Jones was a lightly recruited prospect.

The stats: Jones started every one of his team’s games in each of the last three seasons, lining up at left tackle 29 times and right tackle twice. He earned FCS All-American honors in his last two seasons and went to the Senior Bowl, where area scout David Williams said he was “one of the better linemen.”

The skinny: Bears assistant offensive line coach Austin King took Jones to dinner Sunday night and put him through a 45-minute workout in Salt Lake City the next day. Jones will be a project and figures to play behind second-year players Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom. His addition doesn’t preclude the Bears from signing a veteran to play either guard or tackle.

“I feel like I’m fairly ready, honestly, to definitely compete,” he said.

Round 5, No. 174 overall
Dominique Robinson
Miami (Ohio) DE
6-4, 252
Age: 23

Background: Robinson spent his first two seasons at Miami playing wide receiver before moving to defense in 2020 and making himself a viable draft prospect as a pass rusher

The stats: Robinson quickly made an impact defensively. Over the 2020 and ’21 seasons, he piled up 11 tackles for loss (including 6.5 sacks) in 15 games. He totaled 27 catches, 452 yards and four touchdowns in his two seasons at wide receiver.

The skinny: The Bears have time to develop Robinson and won’t need him to get on the field this season. They already have veterans in Robert Quinn, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Trevis Gipson and Mario Edwards at defensive end, so there won’t be any pressure for Robinson to play immediately. If he carves out a consistent role as a backup, that’s a plus for him and the team.

Round 6, Pick 186
Zach Thomas
San Diego State OT
6-4, 308 pounds
Age: 23

Background: The Carlsbad, Calif., native stayed home to play at San Diego State, then spent six years there. He redshirted in 2016, tore his ACL in 2018 and took the extra year of eligibility afforded him by the coronavirus. His little brother Cameron, a San Diego State defensive lineman, was drafted in the third round by the Cardinals on Friday.

I’ve been sitting on the couch next to him for the past two days,” he said. “So, it’s been amazing.”

The stats: Thomas’ 31 college starts were fairly evenly distributed; he started 12 games on the left side last year and 17 at right tackle before then. He even started two games at guard.

The skinny: Thomas and Southern Utah tackle Braxton Jones were drafted 18 picks apart. Both figure to be backups this season, though Thomas has guard flexibility. Area scout David Williams said Thomas has a “more dense lower body” and more physicality in the run game than Jones.

Round 6, No. 203 overall
Trestan Ebner
Baylor RB
5-11, 215
Age: 23

Background: Ebner is a versatile athlete who played quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker and defensive back in high school. He was a five-year player at Baylor after taking advantage of the extra season because of the pandemic.

The stats: If he plays anything like he did in college, Ebner is what the Bears need. He totaled 1,690 yards rushing at 4.9 per carry and 1,515 yards receiving on 127 catches with 20 offensive touchdowns at Baylor.

The skinny: Teams never know what they’ll find in the late rounds, so it’s worth taking a shot on an impressive athlete like Ebner. He’ll start out behind David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert, but if he exceeds expectations, he could give the Bears some options as Montgomery enters the final season of his rookie contract.

Round 6, No. 207
Doug Kramer
Illinois C
6-2, 299 lbs
Age: 23

Background: The Hinsdale Central graduate grew up in a family of Illinois fans— and Bears fans. When he met with the Bears privately, he was tickled just to walk into Halas Hall.

“Dream come true, for sure,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve wrapped my head around the fat the Bears just took me.”

The stats: Kramer started a whopping 48 games and was a three-year captain. Executive scout Jeff Shiver called him a “a take-charge guy” who “melts into the team well.”

The skinny: At 6-2, 299 pounds, he’s undersized for the position, similar to center Sam Mustipher when he came out of Notre Dame. Mustipher put on weight and played last year at 332 pounds, though the Bears signed the Packers’ Lucas Patrick to take his starting job this offseason.

“Not the tallest, not the biggest,” Shiver said of Kramer. “But when the ball is snapped he may be the best up front.”

Round 7, No. 226 overall
Ja’Tyre Carter
Southern OG
6-3, 311
Age: 23

Background: Carter is a former high school basketball standout, so he has above-average athleticism for an interior lineman. He’s a former left tackle, too, so the Bears could move him around if needed.

The stats: Carter is the first Southern player to be drafted since the Buccaneers took defensive back Lenny Williams in the seventh round in 2004. He started every game last season and was voted second-team all-SWAC by the coaches.

The skinny: General manager Ryan Poles should have expertise in offensive linemen, and he’s hoping that will pay off by picking up a few of them in the late rounds Saturday. At guard, the Bears currently have Cody Whitehair (left) and Sam Mustipher (right) as starters. Mustipher’s spot is vulnerable, but Carter would have to climb over several experienced players to get in the mix for that spot.

Round 7, No. 254
Elijah Hicks
Cal S
5-11, 203 pounds
Age: 22

Background: Hicks played cornerback for three years before an injury to a teammate during the 2019 bowl season prompted a move to the middle of the field. He visited Halas Hall as one of the Bears’ 30 official meetings; he had such a strong feeling he’d end up in Chicago he kept a Bears cap near his television in Lake Tahoe, where he watched the draft.

The stats: Four of his five career interceptions came at safety, including three last year. He forced a whopping four fumbles last year.

“In the air or on the ground,” he said, “I’m gonna come up and make plays and get the ball out.”

The skinny: Second-round pick Jaquan Brisker will get the chance to start opposite Eddie Jackson. While he embodies coach Matt Eberflus’ passion for takeaways, Hicks’ fastest path to make the Bears is via special teams.

Round 7, No. 255 overall
Trenton Gill
N.C. State
6-4, 220
Age: 23

Background: Gill played football (punter and kicker), soccer and tennis in high school and made N.C. State’s team as a walk-on.

The stats: Gill finished his college career as the program’s all-time leader with an average of 46.3 yards per punt. He also handled kickoffs for the Wolfpack and averaged 64 yards per kick, including 49 touchbacks.

The skinny: The punter spot is wide open for the Bears after saying goodbye to mainstay Pat O’Donnell this year. He made the team as a sixth-round pick in 2014 and punted for eight seasons before leaving in free agency to join the Packers. The Bears, meanwhile, have just one punter on the roster: Ryan Winslow, who has bounced among eight organizations (two in the Alliance of American Football) in five years. Gill has a clear shot at a job.

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