Chicago Bears: NFL changes to pre-draft process could cost draft picks

Chicago Bears - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The NFL is pushing some new changes to the pre-draft process ahead of the 2022 NFL Season. According to AP News, the NFL has issued a warning to teams that they could lose a draft pick and face significant fines if club representatives conduct themselves unprofessionally in interviews with draft prospects. The Chicago Bears better figure out their 2022 general manager and coaching situation and make sure everyone is on the straightened arrow.

This is an interesting development. To be honest, I don’t foresee this being a problem no matter who is the general manager or head coach next season. Honestly, I didn’t even realize this was a “thing.” However, all teams, the Chicago Bears included, better pay attention because if they don’t, it could cost them not only a minimum of $150,000 in fines but also a draft pick.

The Chicago Bears better keep their representatives in line or lose a draft pick

The draft pick could range anywhere from a fourth-rounder all the way up to a first. Without specifics, my guess is that it is dependent on how bad the conduct is by the team representative. The only “specifics” that the AP News article mentions is conduct that is “disrespectful, inappropriate or unprofessional.” Individual fines and/or suspensions could also be imposed according to the memo.

Could you imagine if the Chicago Bears were stripped of a second or third-round pick next year? As of now, the team only has five draft picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Ryan Pace sent the team’s 2022 first-round pick to the New York Giants in order to move up from 20th overall to 11th and select Justin Fields. Time will tell if that trade was worth it (it was).

The NFL is also making some changes to the NFL Combine. First of all, the league plans to eliminate the Wonderlic test. Nothing is being reported on replacing the test, so maybe the league finally realized the Wonderlic test is a waste of time and doesn’t have any true value? Players who scored high on the test haven’t been locks to succeed and the same can be said of those who scored relatively low not being successful.

Finally, the AP News reports that the NFL Combine will see a shakeup with their drills. The point is to better simulate game-related movements. Wide receivers and tight ends will run crossing routes instead of wheel routes and running backs will run option routes instead of corner and post-corner routes. This seems like a good idea to me. How often do we see wheel routes from a wide receiver — typically, it’s the running back using that route. However, crossing routes are used on a greater scale for receivers and tight ends. These shifts make sense to me.

We will be keeping a close eye on the NFL Draft and the 2022 prospects. It is important for the Chicago Bears to hit on their second and third-round picks this year. The team needs key additions at certain positions to make immediate impacts next season if they want to turn the corner.