The 2022 NFL Draft began with an expectation that the Chicago Bears would add at least one, and possibly two, wide receivers with their two second-round picks. Instead, General Manager Ryan Poles selected Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon and Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker. Gordon wasn’t a surprise; cornerback ranked high on Chicago’s wish list. But a safety? In the second round? That was a shock.
Perhaps, it shouldn’t have been. The 2022 offseason has been highlighted by contenders loading up at quarterback and wide receiver. And the only way to combat the NFL’s arms race is with a strong defense, especially against the pass. Enter Brisker, who the Bears said Friday could serve as a chess piece for Head Coach Matt Eberflus’ defense.
“A lot of times, you’ll see him walk down close to the line of scrimmage so you can see him,” Bears scout Chris Prescott said via The Athletic. “He’s kind of a good chess piece, I guess you would say, a lot of moving parts. You can play him close to the line of scrimmage and he can come up and he can play the run.”
The more a player can do on defense, the better the chances at shutting down whatever the offense throws (or runs) at you.
“He can fit in there and then he can also revert and flip back because he’s got enough speed and range and good enough eyes to where you can go locate the ball and play the ball well on the back end,” Prescott said of Brisker’s game. “So he can be the post player or you can move him down and play him in the box.”
Jaquan Brisker was the right pick
Brisker, as a prospect, is a fantastic selection. The Bears’ need at wide receiver resulted in a knee-jerk reaction questioning the pick, which is commonplace during the NFL Draft. But now that the dust has settled on day two, Chicago’s defense is vastly improved. Brisker is a big reason why.
The Bears addressed safety in free agency with the signing of Dane Cruikshank. And while Cruikshank is talented in his own right, Brisker’s upside is significantly higher, especially with how his skill set complements Eddie Jackson.
“It’s crazy, but I’m really thankful and humbled that I’m a Chicago Bear,” Brisker said via the Bears’ team site. “Just coming from junior college, I’m just showing those guys what it’s like to handle the standard, to keep the standard the same, and what it’s like to do everything right. I’m just very excited right now. It’s unbelievable. It hasn’t even really soaked in yet.”