Pro Football Focus: Chicago Bears, divisional rival units, most improved following draft

The Chicago Bears gave up an average of 1.8 passing touchdowns on defense in 2021, leaving them tied for 27th in most passing touchdowns given up. General Manager Ryan Poles used his two second-round picks in the draft to select members of the secondary, Kyler Gordon, cornerback, and Jaquan Brisker, safety, to help shore up issues at those positions.

Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus listed the Bears secondary as one of the four (a divisional rival also made the list) most improved positions following the draft:

“The Bears’ 2022 NFL Draft had its flaws, but they did manage to get strong value in the secondary in the second round.

Washington’s Kyler Gordon will likely get the first crack at the starting job opposite Jaylon Johnson outside, although he showed at Washington that he can play in the slot, as well. As the PFF Draft Guide put it, Gordon has some of the best burst in the class, even if his 40-yard dash time (4.52 seconds) was worse than expected. He was billed as a first-round talent by many and addresses a glaring need for a cornerback room thin on talent.

The Bears doubled down in the secondary with Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker in Round 2. Like Gordon, he’s an explosive athlete with good size and will be best utilized in and around the box. He’s a willing and physical tackler who earned a 79.4 PFF run-defense grade across his three seasons with the Nittany Lions to go along with strong marks in coverage.

Those are big additions for a secondary that collectively ranked 26th out of 32 defenses in PFF grade last season.”

Bears fans hope this new secondary can help out at the end of games. The Bears blew leads in the 2-minute defense in a few memorable games, like against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football following an epic comeback.

The Bears divisional rival, the Detroit Lions, also appeared on Linsey’s most improved list for their defensive line. While Linsey tweeted he liked the Bears first two picks, he also admitted the Bears made things harder for quarterback Justin Fields.

Bears projected offensive starters:
Fields
Montgomery
Mooney
Pringle
ESB
Kmet
Borom
Whitehair
Patrick
Dozier/Mustipher
Jenkins
I actually liked the Gordon and Brisker picks, but CHI is putting a lot of pressure on Fields to improve in *that* offense.
https://t.co/8N1qW20FQo

Bears fans should enjoy watching Gordon and Brisker play this season. If the two can find their ceiling in head Coach Matt Eberflus’ new system quickly, the Bears should be able to keep games close by keeping opponents out of the endzone.

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