With the 48 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, General Manager Ryan Poles decided to pull the trigger on another defensive end in Jaquan Brisker. Many Bears fans were a little perplexed with the selection, considering some high receiver prospects were still on the board with the likes of George Pickens and Skyy Moore. Looking back on the draft, you can’t argue the selection.
Coming out of Penn State, Brisker performed at his greatest during his senior season with the Nittany Lions. He recorded 63 total tackles, with 38 of them being solo, along with 2 interceptions. His biggest play of that season was arguably against Wisconsin, where he intercepted and Graham Mertz threw late in the fourth quarter to seal a 16-10 victory. Brisker played a tough style of football at Penn State, being a true box/strong safety. He had a nose for the football and loved playing the run against Big Ten offenses. As noted by James Franklin, head coach of the Nittany Lions, “Brisker has the chance to be special against the run and the pass”. Nowadays that is hard to find in a safety, with a majority of safeties in today’s league wanting to secure interceptions and PBU’s. As we saw in preseason and against Wisconsin, Brisker has a chance to be special in the pass game as well.
Fast forwarding to his first four games with the Bears, it is evident that Brisker is going to be a special player. Brisker seems to have a knack for being in the opponent’s backfield tacking down opponent running backs for losses. He had a nice TFL against the 49er’s in their week one win at the goal line. He then followed that up with another TFL against Giants quarterback Daniel Jones on an attempted bootleg attempt. To be able to make plays in the backfield as a safety, it takes two things. Aggressive downhill movement and play recognition. Against the 49er’s, that was all downhill play style. Brisker was able to get in the backfield in a hurry and bring down Jeff Wilson. Against the Giants, Brisker had to have known Daniel Jones was going to continue on the bootlegs. So he read the fake beautifully and was able to bring down Jones in the backfield.
Looking forward to Brisker, it seems he will have to continue his improvement in the pass game. He has shown in the preseason that he has the instincts to read offensive concepts. He just has to trust those instincts and start making plays on the ball. It will help to have BoJack in the same safety room as him, as he will be able to offer pointers and guidance. The Bears have invested heavily in their secondary with the selections of Brisker and Kyler Gordon. It’s nice to see Brisker performing well and blossoming into a key piece of the future of the secondary.