Chicago Bears 2022 Mock Draft: Final mock before the real thing

Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images
Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images /
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Chicago Bears
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Chicago Bears mock draft: Round 6, #186 — Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State

With their final pick of the draft, the Chicago Bears help out their special teams. They let Pat O’Donnell leave as a free agent. They signed Ryan Winslow but he isn’t too convincing as a full-time starter.

The Bears are the sixth team to try him since 2019. In addition, in four career games, he averages 41 yards per punt and averaged 39.1 yards per punt in 2021.

This might be another struggling offense for the Bears this season. Poles basically put his eggs in the 2023 basket to begin the rebuild in earnest. With an offense that might struggle to gain yards, they’ll need a punter who can flip the field.

That punter is Matt Araiza.

The football explodes off of Araiza’s foot. He has some booming kicks. In 2021, he had 18 punts of 60 or more yards, including two of over 80 yards.  His kicks are so powerful that he ends up with too many touchbacks on occasion. He needs to tone down the power a bit so he can pin teams deep in their territory.

Araiza also kicked off in college. He had 73 kickoffs in 2021. Of those, 62 of them were touchbacks. If the ball goes out of the end zone then the returner cannot have a big run. Cairo Santos is a very good field goal kicker but he doesn’t have a powerful leg. Araiza can step up and get long kickoffs.

Araiza punts the ball in a way that if a returner doesn’t catch it, it almost certainly keeps moving forward.

On open-field punts, which are punts made between a team’s own goal line and their 40, Araiza averaged an amazing 50 yards, leading the nation.

If Araiza is available when the Bears make their final pick, they need to draft him. His kicking prowess will be invaluable for the offense and defense.