5 NFL Draft prospects Chicago Bears should target Friday night

The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft has come and gone, but not without some chaotic movement as 9 trades were made over the course of Thursday night. As the draft enters Day 2 on Friday, the Chicago Bears will finally make their first picks of the draft with selections 39 and 48 in the second round and selection 71 in the third round.

Several names connected to the Bears in mock drafts, including Tulsa’s Tyler Smith and Chattanooga’s Cole Strange, went in the first round. These picks may have shaken up GM Ryan Poles’ draft board along with the whopping six wide receivers selected on Thursday, but there’s still plenty of talent to be had. Here’s a look at five names the Bears should consider on Day 2 to fill out their roster.

Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Five defensive players from Georgia were selected in Thursday’s first round and Dean was shockingly not one of them. Arguably the best remaining prospect on the board, it wouldn’t come as a shock for a team to trade up to grab the reigning Butkus Award winner. If Dean remains on the board at pick 39, pairing him with Roquan Smith could make for the next great Chicago linebacker duo in the team’s storied history. With the switch back to a 4-3 defense, there’s plenty of uncertainty who will be lining up next to Smith this season.

Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

As the draft entered the last few first round picks Thursday night, it was looking iffy on whether Watson would see the second round after a heavy run of wide receiver selections. Connected to the Bears by several analysts, Watson is the best remaining wide receiver on the board. His tall frame and athleticism would bring a much needed edge to the Bears, and fit perfectly into Poles’ plans for building around quarterback Justin Fields.

Logan Hall, DL, Houston

The towering 6-foot-6, 283 pound Hall would immediately slot into a starting role at defensive tackle for the Bears. Noted for his violent burst off the line, his size would plug the gaps in stopping the run while getting after the quarterback with more success than normally seen in interior defensive lineman with his aggressive style of play. The question that remains on Hall is whether teams view him more as an 4-3 defensive tackle or a 3-4 defensive end, a debate that has been going on for a couple months now.

Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

It’s been an odd football journey for Bernhard Raimann, a native of Steinbrunn, Austria who didn’t begin playing football until he was 14. His journey to the USA saw him play tight end before landing on offensive tackle at Central Michigan. Still considered a raw talent, Raimann’s draft stock has been volatile in recent weeks following reports that there have been red flags around his physical. While the same report also listed Alabama’s Evan Neal, the New York Giants had no issue selecting him 7th overall on Thursday. If the Bears are high on Raimann, they may be prepared to take him with one of their second round picks.

Some teams medically failed and removed from their draft board Alabama LT Evan Neal and Central Michigan OT Bernhard Raimann.

Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

Finding a young, promising safety to pair with Eddie Jackson should be at the top of the priority list for Poles and the Bears. Pitre’s profile can slot in as a do-it-all safety in both pass coverage and run defense coming up on the line. Despite strong performances in his final year at Baylor, the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, the hype hasn’t carried over on Pitre which makes him an intriguing target for the Bears on Friday. The 2021 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and first-team AP All-American would be another surefire best player available selection for Poles.

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