One of the biggest surprises of the 2022 draft for the Chicago Bears was their refusal to take an offensive player with either of their top two picks in the 2nd round. It seemed like such a no-brainer decision. Justin Fields needs weapons, and there is a long history of value being found in that area of the draft, especially at wide receiver. The most popular name connected to the team leading up to the draft was Georgia standout George Pickens.
His talent was undeniable. Despite some health setbacks, the 6’3 receiver showcased many skills, including understated speed, body control, strong hands, and run-blocking prowess. It seemed like such a natural fit for the Bears. When the time arrived on the second day, he was still on the board at #39 overall. Instead, GM Ryan Poles picked Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon.
No big deal.
Nine picks later, the Bears went on the clock again at #48. Pickens was somehow still there. This was it. The team had played it perfectly. They got a Day 1 starter for the secondary and could still secure that talented pass-catcher for their young QB. Then Poles selected Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker instead. Fans were confused and upset. Why would the team waste such a golden opportunity? It stung watching Pickens go to Pittsburgh not long after that. In truth, it was never going to happen.
Not according to Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog. He provided some telling details on why Chicago and several other teams said no to the Bulldogs star.
As the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft rolled along, there were receivers available for the Chicago Bears. The Packers moved up – something Ryan Poles was NOT going to do – for Christian Watson. Many fans were calling for George Pickens, a player one scout called “a turd” during a text conversation with DBB.
George Pickens will either be an All-Pro or suspended by Week 4, no in between pic.twitter.com/3mDjT3BHa1
— GhettoGronk (@TheGhettoGronk) May 2, 2022
Even before the draft began, there were rumblings that George Pickens suffered from maturity issues. He had some notable blowups as a freshman in 2019 that got him in trouble. Don’t forget he only turned 21-years old in March. Certain reports indicated red flags surrounded him. Poles had no intention of putting somebody like that in the same huddle as his quarterback. Maybe it was too cautious of a decision, but it’s unlikely the Bears GM regrets it.