The Chicago Bears enter the 2022 season with new management in place. They hired a new GM and head coach to lead the franchise moving forward. Both GM Ryan Poles and Head Coach Matt Eberflus take over a team with a rich history, passionate fan base, and high expectations.
Poles is going to be tasked with rebuilding a team and forming one around the face of the franchise, Justin Fields. Eberflus is going to have use his defensive prowess to build his own “Monsters of the Midway,” while building an offensive staff that will help bring the most out of Fields. 2022 is going to be an important transition year for the Bears and will set the tone for the future.
QB: Justin Fields, Trevor Siemian, Nathan Peterman
Explanation: There is a new regime in Chicago that is going to be responsible for the development of the second year first round pick m, Justin Fields. Building a supporting cast around him is going to be paramount for the success of the Bears. He showed flashes of what he could do in 2021 but is going to need to show more in 2022. There are a lot of unproven WR options at his disposal which will not help a ton. The new coaching staff has been mixing and matching offensive line combinations after the Bears gave up the most sacks in 2021. Other than Fields, Siemian and Peterman have quality experience but ensuring the success of the franchise relies on Fields’ overall success.
RB: David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert, Darrynton Evans, Trestan Ebner
Explanation: Montgomery is a very solid RB and will take a lot of the pressure off Justin Fields. However, a boost to offensive line play will be needed as the group was ranked 22nd by PFF in 2021. Montgomery also missed four games last season due to injury and behind him Herbert is the only one with experience after gaining 433 yards on 103 carries last season. There is no room for injuries at all in this group so the health of Montgomery will be of major importance in 2022.
WR: Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, Velus Jones Jr., Equanimeous St. Brown, Tajae Sharpe, Dazz Newsome, Dante Pettis, David Moore, Nsimba Webster, Isaiah Coulter, Chris Finke, Kevin Shaa
Explanation: Losing Allen Robinson in Free agency was a major blow to this receiving corps, especially with a young QB. The Bears were able to bring in Byron Pringle in free agency who should have an expanded role in this offense. Darnell Mooney will be Fields main target as he had a breakout year in 2021 with over 1,000 yards receiving. The Bears also used a third round Pick on Velus Jones Jr. from Tennessee. Jones will bring a speed factor to this offense and will need to step up big as a rookie. There is not a ton of depth in this group and the Bears will rely heavily on their top options going into 2022.
TE: Cole Kmet, Ryan Griffin, James O’Shaughnessy, Rysen John, Chase Allen, Jake Tonges
Explanation: Kmet had a very solid year in 2021 and will look to build upon that success in 2022. The Bears brought in a veteran in Ryan Griffin to take over the TE2 spot. Kmet is the key piece in this room and his receiving ability is going to be a big factor in the passing attack. He was a solid run blocker but that will need to further develop in 2022. The success of Fields and this offense is going to rely upon the weapons at his disposal and Kmet can be a huge part of that and solidify himself as a top receiving TE threat for opposing defenses.
OL: Teven Jenkins, Cody Whitehair, Lucas Patrick, Dakota Dozier, Larry Borom, Julie’n Davenport, Dieter Eiselen, Sam Mustipher, Willie Wright, Lachavious Simmons, Shon Coleman, Ja’Tyre Carter, Doug Kramer, Braxton Jones, Zachary Thomas, Jean Delance
Explanation: The Bears OL play struggled in 2021 and no Jason Peters this year doesn’t help matters. Peters was their highest rated offensive lineman in 2021, according to PFF. Larry Borom showed promise in his rookie season but he and Teven Jenkins are going to need to make a significant jump in 2022. Cody Whitehair is a solid veteran at guard and will be a solid returning piece for this unit. A lot of eyes will be on this unit in 2022, in particular the tackles. The Bears drafted a lot of tackles later in the draft and have been rotating them in so far in minicamp. It’s still early, so it is yet to be seen the starting unit they send out week 1.
DL: Al-Quadin Muhammad, Khyiris Tonga, Justin Jones, Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson, LaCale London, Angelo Blackson, Mario Edwards Jr., Sam Kamara, Micah Dew-Treadway, Auzoyah Alufohai, Dominique Robinson, Charles Snowden, Mike Pennel, Carson Taylor
Explanation: Robert Quinn is coming off a career year in which he broke the Bears single season sack record with 18.5. Gipson played well in replacing Khalil Mack last season where he had 7 sacks himself. Muhammad also comes over from Indianapolis where he is familiar with Eberflus’ scheme and provides good depth on the edge. On the interior, the Bears lost a few starters and have tried to fill the position with cheaper but experienced options. Justin Jones was one of those additions and should be a solid player on the interior. Overall, it’s a position group that lost some big names but added quality pieces with the limited cap space they had.
LB: Roquan Smith, Nicholas Morrow, Matthew Adams, Caleb Johnson, Noah Dawkins, Joe Thomas, Jack Sanborn, Christian Albright, C.J. Avery
Explanation: Roquan Smith is one of the better linebackers in the NFL and he will be looking to have another strong year before heading to free agency. Nicholas Morrow missed 2021 due to injury but had 78 total tackles, 8 TFL, and 5 sacks in 2020 for the Raiders. The Bears will hope he can replicate that success and stay healthy in 2022. Adams is another player signed over from Indianapolis that is familiar with Eberflus’ system and should have no issue adapting in camp. Joe Thomas will be a veteran depth piece. Outside of those four, the Bears are relatively young at the position and will need their starters to remain healthy.
CB: Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, Thomas Graham Jr., Tavon Young, Kindle Vildor, Greg Stroman Jr., Duke Shelley, Lamar Jackson, Michael Joseph, Thakarius Keyes, Allie Green IV, Jaylon Jones
Explanation: Jaylon Johnson had a solid rookie year in 2021 and the Bears upgraded the position further by using their top pick on Kyler Gordon from Washington. That pick set up a young, dynamic CB duo on the edges. Adjusting to the NFL is always hard, arguably the hardest for cornerbacks, but Gordon possesses a lot of the skills needed to translate into being a solid NFL CB. Behind them, there are players with good experience in Shelley and Vildor. A much-improved position group heading into 2022.
S: Jaquan Brisker, Eddie Jackson, Dane Cruikshank, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Elijah Hicks, Jon Alexander, AJ Thomas
Explanation: Brisker was drafted in the second round and should start opposite Eddie Jackson in the defensive backfield. The addition of Brisker instantly upgrades this position group as Jackson is already a solid NFL safety. Cruikshank brings experience coming over from Tennessee. Hicks was a late round draft pick that will develop and be a piece moving forward for the Bears.