Bears Draft Target: Christian Gonzalez
Trevor Ruszkowski - USA Today Sports

Bears Draft Target: Christian Gonzalez

by - Senior Writer -

As we continue to focus on the No. 9 pick and what the Bears should do with it, it will be the defense we focus on once again. Yes, I understand that the offensive line is still needed, but nothing will matter if you don't have a defense to stop the other team.

The Bears found out the hard way how vital a defense is as they had six consecutive games where they scored at least 27 points and came away 0-6 in the process. You can't blame the offense for that, as having a lack of defense did the Bears in last season. After trading away Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, and Robert Quinn and failing to bring back Akiem Hicks, the Bears defense was a shell of what they used to be.

You saw that from the beginning of the season, where they ranked dead last when stopping the run and allowed nearly 5.0 YPC. They also ranked 30th in yards allowed and 31st in points allowed as teams loved to take on their defense. Along with those horrid numbers, you had a team that finished with only 20 sacks which was by far the lowest total in the NFL.

Throw in less than 15 turnovers, and you can see why this team finished the season 3-14 and riding a 10-game skid into the offseason. Part of their defensive struggles came from a lack of QB pressure. If you can't pressure the opposing QB, your defense will get tested. That is why forcing turnovers is one of the biggest keys to coming away with a victory.

Despite having Eddie Jackson, Kyler Gordon, Jaquon Brisker, and Jaylon Johnson in the secondary, turnovers didn't come easy as this team struggled to turn other teams over. Could an addition to the secondary with the No. 9 pick be the solution this team needs? While that remains to be seen, Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez could be the solution this team is looking for.

Graded out as one of the two best CBs in the draft, most mock drafts have him going in the top six, so he may not even be around when the Bears pick. If you compare him to Devon Witherspoon, there is a good argument that Gonzalez could be the best CB in this class, but I still give the nod to Witherspoon.

If available when the Bears pick at No. 9, this is a pick that could turn the Bears defense into a top-15 unit this season with the potential of a top-five. Unlike Witherspoon, Gonzalez is the ideal size you look for in an outside corner standing 6-1 and weighing 200 LBS. He has some fantastic hip fluidity to his game that keeps him square with receivers and allows him to watch and track the quarterback. This helped him come away with four interceptions in 2022. He also returned those four interceptions for a combined 118 yards. In other words, he is a big-play DB who can take it to the house anytime.

While the playmaking skills are there, what about his overall coverage skills when teams target him? Compared to Witherspoon, the completion percentage could be better as QBs completed 61% of their passes his way. However, a 74.7 QBR shows you that most of those completions were short-yardage completions that didn't hurt the defense too much.

Although he does have the size you look for in an outside corner, Gonzalez may still struggle with some of the bigger WRs in the league, which is expected. However, once he puts some time in the weight room, those struggles will be far less frequent, and then he should be able to use his size to his advantage.

If you ask most fans, they want the Bears to focus on OL, and only OL when it comes to this pick. However, with other pressing needs, look for Poles to consider all options. Adding another CB could be one of those options, and if it is, Gonzalez is an excellent addition for this team.

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