It isn’t too hard to remember when Bears fans were writing Thomas Graham Jr.’s name down as a key part of the organization’s future. The sixth rounder had a strong showing at the end of the 2021 season, after not playing at all up until that point. The expectation was that Graham would be a starter in 2022, but he wasn’t even close to that. He was injured early in training camp, but even after he was healthy the team instead decided to use roster spots on Jaylon Jones and Josh Blackwell. Graham went to the practice squad where he was later signed by Cleveland.
Cleveland hasn’t had much use for him. After being signed to the active roster originally, Graham was demoted to the practice squad. He was promoted back to the active roster on Oct. 31 but didn’t play a single defensive snap until last week.
Graham’s story isn’t uncommon. Bears fans, especially, should know to be cautious when it comes to how a player looks at the end of a dead-end season, though the Devin Aromashodu highlights can be fun. Who can forget Brock Forsey running for 134 yards? My guess is most of you did.
We won’t learn a whole lot about the Chicago Bears in the last four games of the season.
Will Anderson vs. Jalen Carter
If the Bears end up with the second pick, this is the debate that will rate on. There is no wrong answer, but Alabama’s Anderson would be the better pick.
That’s no slight to Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. He’s an outstanding prospect and will surely go third overall. It seems unlikely that any team is going to trade into the top three for a quarterback, so the two defenders are good bets to go early. Though, it should always be noted that there is a lot that has yet to happen in regard to this process.
The common comparison for Carter is Quinnen Williams, a great player for the Jets. In many ways this draft reminds me of the 2019 iteration in which a small quarterback went first, and the next two picks were defenders. The player who went second was Nick Bosa; the 49ers don’t regret taking Bosa over Williams and Anderson is a better prospect than Bosa was.
Future of the North
The bye week is a good time to look at other teams and the future of the NFC North is going to be interesting.
The Detroit Lions seem like they have a lot going for them, but Jared Goff remains a flawed quarterback. They can hide his issues as long as they are flawless around him, but how long can that actually be the case?
Kevin O’Connell is off to a good start in Minnesota, but so much about their season seems fluky.
The Packers are the great unknown. Will it be Aaron Rodgers next year? Will Rodgers be good again? Or will it be Jordan Love? Is Love bad?
In the end, there’s no real reason the Bears can’t make some serious noise in the division next year. It’s going to be a crucial offseason for Ryan Poles and he has the assets to put together a competitive roster.