NFL Draft 2021 Review: Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears experienced one of the weirdest seasons in National Football League (NFL) history. They started off the season 5-1 and looked like a possible Super Bowl contender. Then, the bottom almost fell out during the middle of the season when the Bears lost six games in a row. However, Chicago somehow recovered and won three of the last four games in order to reach the playoffs.
As you can see from the rollercoaster ride that Chicago was on, the organization needs to add some consistency from within their day-to-day operations. Fortunately, the Bears were looking to bring in players that can be added through the NFL Draft that will be able to alleviate this team from being so topsy-turvy all of the time.
Round 1, Pick 11: Justin Fields - QB - Ohio State (6'3", 227 lbs). The Bears ended up making the boldest move in the draft by moving up to number eleven and picking Fields. Fields proved that he is a true leader by commanding The Ohio State Buckeyes to two consecutive College Football Playoffs. The draft experts expected that he was almost guaranteed to be selected in the Top 10, but fell to 11 after having a couple of rough games during the season. Nevertheless, he proved the doubters wrong by avenging a loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals. His play in summer camp will determine whether he will be the starting quarterback on Week 1 or he will be given a few more weeks to develop. The dual-threat quarterback has the potential to make a big play every time he drops back to pass with either his arm or with his legs.
Round 2, Pick 7: Teven Jenkins - OT - Oklahoma State (6'6", 317 lbs). The Bears were not done trading up in the draft and moved higher into the second round to take Jenkins, who was seen as being a sure-fire first round pick. Jenkins will start right away at either left tackle or right tackle. This type of versatility is a great thing to have because injuries happen all of the time in the NFL.
Round 5, Pick 7: Larry Borom - G - Missouri (6'5", 322 lbs). Borom played at guard and at tackle in college, so he adds even more depth to the offensive line that had to deal with some injuries last season.
Round 6, Pick 33: Khalil Herbert - RB - Virginia Tech (5'9", 210 lbs). Herbert could possibly see some time at running back off of the bench as the third option behind David Montgomery and Damien Williams. He was one of the top rushers in college football with 1,182 rushing yards. He could also see some time as a kick returner after averaging 26.9 yards per return.
Round 6, Pick 37: Dazz Newsome - WR - North Carolina (5'10", 190 lbs). Newsome will compete for the slot receiver spot in the offense (684 receiving yards, 6 TD). He could also see time as a punt returner (9.9 yards per return).
Round 6, Pick 44: Thomas Graham, Jr. - CB - Oregon (5'10", 192 lbs). Graham dropped to the sixth round because he opted out of the 2020 season due to the pandemic, but he was a three-year starter at cornerback. His statistics from 2019 (2 INT, 10 pass break-ups, five tackles for loss) show that he has the potential to become a playmaker at corner who is also willing to tackle. He will compete to see some playing time during the season off of the bench as a back-up cornerback.
Round 7, Pick 23: Khyiris Tonga - DT - Brigham Young University (6'2", 325 lbs). Tonga adds depth to the defensive tackle rotation (2.5 sacks, 5 passes deflected).
Grade: The Bears definitely had to make amends for making one of the worst draft picks in NFL history when they drafted QB Mitch Trubisky instead of Deshaun Watson AND Patrick Mahomes in 2017. The pick was so colossally bad that the pick is still being derided four years later. The Bears had to making things right. In a strange twist of events, other teams passed on Fields, who is seen to be a potential franchise quarterback.
However, it is not strange for NFL teams to pass on Black quarterbacks based upon negative stereotypes. Over the past five years, teams had passed on Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, and Justin Fields. The Bears learned their lesson this time around by drafting Fields.
Plus, Chicago bolstered their offense by adding to the offensive line with Jenkins and Borom and drafting steals in the sixth round in Herbert, Newsome, and Graham, Jr. The Bears have not had this good of a draft since the 1980's. The grade is an A.
All stats are from NFL.com.