PFF ranks Chicago Bears defensive line near last for 2022

Chicago Bears defensive line will look different this season

It’s not just the Chicago Bears offense Pro Football Focus is taking issue with. PFF doesn’t care for the defensive line either. At this point, the Bears should feel personally attacked by the negative rankings the sports website is giving them.

The Bears are going to have to adapt guerrilla warfare tactics. This team can’t do crap in the trenches.

With the departure of Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks leaving this offseason for championship contenders, Bears fans knew the team needed help with the defensive line. Because the Bears are switching from the 3-4 to the 4-3 this season, they need extra depth on the unit.

Moves general manager Ryan Poles have made so far have not impressed PFF. Ben Linsey, who ranked the Bears’ wide receivers 32nd, put the team’s defensive line 31st on his list headed into 2022.

Here’s what Linsey wrote:

Robert Quinn stands out as the clear star of Chicago’s defensive line following their decision to cut ties with Khalil Mack. Quinn is fresh off a second-team All Pro appearance in 2021, but his 69.9 PFF grade (34th among 108 qualifying edge defenders) indicates that there were more deserving players for that accolade. The rest of the unit beyond Quinn looks uninspiring on paper.

Al-Quadin Muhammad comes over with new head coach Matt Eberflus from Indianapolis after earning PFF grades between 60.0 and 67.0 in each of the last four seasons for the Colts. On the interior, Justin Jones, Khyiris Tonga, Angelo Blackson and Mario Edwards Jr.will all compete for snaps. Jones and Blackson are the most established of that group, but they’ve combined for just one season with a PFF grade above 60.0 on at least 250 defensive snaps in 11 combined seasons.

The Chicago Bears might be losing their star defensive lineman

Linsey ranked them 31st even with Robert Quinn. Quinn, who missed mandatory minicamp Tuesday, is not likely going to play for the Bears this season. He likely wants out like Hicks and Mack to chase a Super Bowl. I’d imagine the Bears would be 32nd by a significant margin if Quinn wasn’t a part of the defensive line’s calculations.

If Quinn leaves the Bears, the defense will be in trouble this season. Even with an improved secondary, it’s hard to ask players to stay in coverage if the quarterback has all day throw in the pocket. The Bears can only focus on so many gaps during free agency this summer. The Bears definitely need help on the offensive line and at wide receiver. What position group the Bears prioritize this summer is anyone’s guess.

The Chicago Bears are in rebuild mode for at least the next year or two

It’s getting sad to see just how far the Chicago Bears have fallen since 2018 when the team had a legitimate shot in the playoffs. The team should be drafting next year early with where national media projects the Bears to finish. If the Bears have a top 5 drafting spot, the team should seriously consider adding a pass rusher to the team. That’s usually where teams can find an anchor for the defensive line.

The Bears added a lot of depth during the draft at the secondary position with cornerback Kyler Gordon and Saftey Jaquan Brisker. That part of the defense should be figured out for a few seasons. Hopefully, the Bears’ fifth-round selection Dominique Robinson, who plays the edge, will surprise people this year with his athleticism.

Even if Robinson plays at a Pro Bowl level of talent, the Bears will still need more playmakers on the defensive line to be what the Bears had the past few years. Mack, Hicks, Quinn, and even Leonard Floyd are not easy to replace.

Make sure to check out our Bears forum for the latest on the team.

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