The Chicago Bears made a significant 2022 NFL Draft investment in their secondary. General manager Ryan Poles spent both of the team’s second-round picks on defensive backs in cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker. They’ll join veteran cornerback Jaylon Johnson and safety Eddie Jackson to round out an exciting defensive backfield with upside.
Unfortunately, that upside isn’t enough to garner much respect in Pro Football Focus’ 2022 secondary rankings. The Bears ranked second-worst at No. 31.
“It’s worrisome that this Bears secondary lacks a single player who they can point to and say for certain he’ll be reliable,” PFF’s Mike Renner wrote. “Eddie Jackson is supposed to be that guy — and is being paid as such — but even he has earned coverage grades of 56.9 and 55.8 the past two seasons.”
It’s an interesting take by Renner. Pro Football Focus has been relatively high on the performance of Johnson through his first two seasons in the league; he’d seem to qualify as a reliable guy.
That said, it’s fair to have questions about a secondary that will start two rookies. And when factoring Thomas Graham Jr., last year’s sixth-round pick, as the likely nickel, there’s a fair amount of uncertainty with this group.
Still, it’s impossible to deny the raw talent the Chicago Bears defensive backs bring to the field. Gordon has unique attributes as a twitchy cover guy who can mirror and click-and-close like some of the top cornerbacks in the game. Brisker, meanwhile, offers the Bears the most well-rounded safety the team has had since the glory days of Mike Brown.
Johnson and Jackson have already established themselves as quality pros.
It would be unrealistic to expect a high ranking for Chicago’s secondary. It’s all projection right now, and until it becomes a productive group, questions will remain. But, 31st? Chalk it up as another preseason shot at a Bears team with more than its fair share of bulletin board material at the start of training camp.
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today. His NFL Draft and Bears coverage has also been featured on The Draft Network.