Chicago Bears second-round pick Jaquan Brisker was one of the surprise selections of the 2022 NFL Draft. Despite the Bears’ obvious and glaring need for a starter opposite Eddie Jackson, few draft pundits had General Manager Ryan Poles adding a safety like Brisker on day two.
Now that the dust has settled on draft weekend, Poles’ decision to pick Brisker instead of one of the high-profile wide receivers who were on the board at No. 48 overall has garnered praise. He’s a plug-and-play starter who will become the enforcer Chicago’s secondary has been lacking for years.
“I love being physical,” Brisker said from the Bears’ rookie minicamp Friday. “But at the same time, I can show my versatility in the back end. I can attack the ball, I can cover, and then obviously in the box, I love to hit. I love to tackle and take on blocks.”
Brisker’s skillset complements Jackson’s well. In fact, he compensates for Jackson’s unreliable tackling and will level up the Bears’ defense in ways that will extend beyond the box score.
“Yeah, so the hitting is there,” Head Coach Matt Eberflus said Friday. “The old term that a lot of my mentors used to use is quickness, instincts and striking ability, and that’s what he has. Those things still are true today as they were years ago. He has those attributes, and we’re excited where he is. What a positive energy guy, too, and you can really feel the light coming out of him. It’s really good.”
Brisker was considered a fringe-first-round pick during the run-up to the 2022 draft. He was ranked as the No. 5 safety in the class by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, who in his 2022 NFL draft guide said Brisker’s “innate toughness and timing fuel his playmaking skills.”
Jaquan Brisker finished the 2021 college football season with a career-best 63 tackles and tied his single-season high with two interceptions. The Draft Network compared his playstyle to former Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints star, Malcolm Jenkins, and ranked him in the top-30 prospects in this year’s draft.
Poles stuck to his board when he drafted Brisker. And it’s that conviction that’s resulted in the Bears’ secondary being one of the most naturally talented groups in the NFC. It’s also because of that conviction that hard hits and intimidation are coming back to Soldier Field.