The Bears didn’t get their first pick of the NFL Draft until the second round on Friday. The Bears had seven total picks with two in the second, one in the fifth, two in the sixth, and two in the seventh. They made the most of their picks adding key players that can help them take the next step. Here are the Bears draft grades.
Round 2, Pick No. 43: Cole Kmet, Tight End, Notre Dame
A lot of fans (including myself) didn’t want the Bears to draft a tight end as their first pick. The common misconception is that the Bears already have nine of them. The problem is, only one or two of those nine are any decent. Most of them will be cut before or after training camp. Because of this issue, Ryan Pace went and grabbed his tight end of the future in Cole Kmet.
Kmet will likely play the role of ‘Y’ tight end due to the way he moves and his blocking ability with Jimmy Graham playing the ‘U’ tight end. This now gives the Bears the flexibility to run more 12 personnel with these two solid tight ends as well. Cole Kmet has great value as a pass catcher and as a blocker and wanted to be in Chicago given his roots. He has a very high football IQ and is a very smart kid in general. This may have been a reach for Kmet, but Ryan Pace wanted his guy, and he got him.
Round 2, Pick No. 50: Jaylon Johnson, Cornerback, Utah
Given the trend of already picking high football IQ players, Pace ran and grabbed another in cornerback Jaylon Johnson. Johnson is a smart, aggressive, strong corner that is a first-round talent but fell due to injuries. Johnson played the whole season with a torn labrum and still earned second-team AP All-American honors. He has a scary injury history, but the talent is there.
Johnson will be the starting corner opposite of All-Pro Kyle Fuller. Some scouts even say that Johnson may be better than Fuller in the long run barring injury. The Bears instantly upgraded their secondary greatly after they released Prince Amukamara. That corner position was up for grabs with a few question marks, but now they have a certain stud ready to step in. This was a great pick.
Round 5, Pick No. 155: Trevis Gipson, Edge, Tulsa
I actually mocked Trevis Gipson to the Bears in my first mock draft this offseason. Gipson is a raw talent that could develop into a stud edge rusher for the Bears. He tallied eight sacks in the 2019 season while just using pure athletic ability and strength. Sitting behind Khalil Mack will help him greatly to learn some technique.
Gipson should slot himself in the third or fourth edge rusher on the roster behind Mack and Robert Quinn. He should fight with the newly signed Barkevious Mingo for some playing time. He has the opportunity to be a diamond-in-the-rough type of edge rusher for the Bears. The Bears moved up to this pick by trading away a 2021 fourth-round pick for this fifth-round pick from the Vikings.
Round 5, Pick No. 163: Kindle Vildor, Cornerback, Georgia Southern
After selecting a cornerback in the second round, the Bears add another in the fifth with Kindle Vildor out of Georgia Southern. Vildor is a fast but small corner who had a lot of success in the Sun Belt Conference being first-team all-conference two years in a row. He ran a 4.44 40 yard dash at the combine and has some great ball instincts. He’s also stronger than he looks.
This pick is questionable, but the Bears could be looking for a long-term replacement at the nickel corner for Buster Skrine. Skrine had an okay season last year, but he wasn’t really worth the money they were paying him. If Vildor balls out, he could be a great replacement at nickel. He will compete with Duke Shelley and Skrine for the starting job likely. There was a lot of talent still on the board elsewhere so that slightly hurts this pick.
Round 5, Pick No. 173: Darnell Mooney, Wide Receiver, Tulane
The Bears once again continue the trading spree as they trade up with the Philadelphia Eagles grabbing a wide receiver. Darnell Mooney out of Tulane is the perfect fit for the Chicago Bears. Mooney is a burner of a wide receiver. He instantly can replace the Taylor Gabriel role of taking the top off of a defense with his 4.38 speed. His hands aren’t anything to brag about, but his explosiveness and speed are awesome.
Last season, Mooney took short passes for touchdowns of 86, 79, and 55 yards. He needs to put some more weight onto his frame in order to take the next step and improve his hands, but his intangibles and traits are not something that is easy to find. This is a great pick for the Bears looking for some much-needed speed at wide receiver.
Round 7, Pick No. 226: Arlington Hambright, Offensive Line, Colorado
This is the first pick the Bears used to address their offensive line, which is questionable. Arlington Hambright is an extremely versatile offensive lineman who has played for three different colleges. He first spent two years at junior college before transferring to Oklahoma State then Colorado. Hambright wasn’t invited to the combine, but he hosted a pro day and talked to a few teams.
He started all 11 games at Colorado earning Pac-12 offensive linemen of the week for his efforts against Stanford. Hambright also started five games for Oklahoma State in which they won all five of those games. He suffered an injury that limited his time. Hambright gives the Bears an athletic, strong lineman that can play anywhere along the offensive line. He could’ve been a priority free agent.
Round 7, Pick No. 227: Lachavious Simmons, Offensive Line, Tennessee State
The Chicago Bears doubled up on offensive line versatility grabbing Lachavious Simmons from Tennessee State. Simmons says himself he can play all five positions along the offensive line. He also wasn’t invited to the combine like Hambright.
This adds more depth to the Bears offensive line. This not only helps the Bears at a certain position but if one player goes down, they got these two young bucks ready to step in at any position. These two could both develop into solid offensive linemen down the road. Along with Hambright, they could’ve gotten him as a priority free agent most likely.
This draft is very telling of what Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy believe for the Chicago Bears. For starters, they believe Deon Bush and Stephen Denmark are ready to battle out for the starting strong safety position. This also shows that these two both believe in newly signed Germain Ifedi for the starting right guard. Overall, Pace and Nagy tag-teamed a very solid draft that will be underrated by a lot of analysts. Another underrated thought: the Bears drafted three guys with pretty cool names (Kindle Vildor, Arlington Hambright, and Lachavious Simmons).
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