3 bold predictions for the Chicago Bears 2022 season
Multiple rookies from the Chicago Bears will make the Pro Bowl
The Chicago Bears went from the oldest team in the league last season to the seventh youngest (with an average age of 25.7) in only one offseason. Ryan Poles and company clearly prioritized adding young players to the fold, which could prove to be a savvy move as the team attempts to accelerate its rebuild. They have a league-high 15 rookies on their Week One roster, and many of them will be depended on to contribute right out of the gate.
The class performed admirably in the preseason, and a few players already look like they could become quality starters as early as this year. No rookie has been more impressive than fifth-round selection Braxton Jones, who has already locked down the starting left tackle position and left the field with the rest of Chicago’s big-name starters in all three preseason games, a strong indication of how the coaches feel about him.
While Jones has been the steadiest rookie thus far, that is because the team’s first three selections, Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker, and Velus Jones Jr., have all been nicked up this preseason. All three players will play a vital role on gameday, and the latter two look like they have adapted to theirs relatively quickly.
Brisker was all over the field against the Chiefs (the only exhibition game he played in) and nearly grabbed an interception in limited action. There have been countless safeties who stepped in and became high-impact starters on day one, and it looks like he could be next in line. His presence in the box provides the secondary with something they have been missing since letting Adrian Amos walk in 2019. It would not be surprising to see the versatile defender lead Chicago in interceptions, and he even has the talent to find himself in the Pro Bowl if he can have an Antoine Winfield Jr. impact right away.
Velus Jones Jr. also provides Pro Bowl potential to the return game. His skill set is eerily similar to (fellow Tennessee Volunteer and Bear) Cordarrelle Patterson, and he could have a similar impact in Chicago. It may take him some time before he carves out a defined role on offense, but he could be even more likely to earn a Pro Bowl nod if he becomes effective as a gadget player and earns a reputation as someone who can make plays with the ball in his hands.
The 25-year-old may be eligible for AARP by the end of the year, but he also could make enough plays to find himself in the Pro Bowl, which would be more than enough to vindicate a third-round selection.