The offensive line was clearly a priority for the Bears entering this weekend’s NFL draft.
After taking Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins with the 39th overall pick in the second round on Friday, the Bears took another tackle with their first pick Saturday.
With the 151st overall pick in the fifth round, the Bears chose Missouri offensive tackle Larry Borom.
“As we talked through this and went into this draft, we were hoping it would fall a certain way where we could add talent to the offensive line room, wherever that was,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said late Friday night. “It could be interior. It could be on the edges. We just want to add competition to the O-line room.”
Borom (6-foot-5, 322 pounds) started 19 games over the past two seasons at Missouri, with 16 of those starts at right tackle. While he played tackle at Missouri, he might be better suited at guard in the NFL. His arms are only 33 1/8 inches long, which is on the small side for an NFL tackle.
Borom grew up in Detroit and was a three-star recruit out of Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He never played football until high school and was a late-bloomer. He didn’t have any major offers until he visited a Missouri for a camp during the summer before his senior season. The Tigers offered him and he committed that very weekend, according to the MUTigers.com.
Borom was a redshirt junior and left Missouri with one year of eligibility remaining. He said he enjoyed picking the brain of Bears offensive line coach Juan Castillo during their pre-draft Zoom meetings.
“He’s a guru,” Borom said. “He knows his stuff. He’s been coaching a lot of great players and he knows exactly what he’s talking about.”
Bears trade 208th overall pick to Seattle for additional picks
The Bears traded their first of three sixth-round picks, giving themselves an extra selection Saturday. The Bears gave up the 208th overall pick to Seattle in exchange for the 217th pick (sixth round) and the 250th pick (seventh round).
Following the trade, the Bears now have four picks remaining Saturday: 217 (sixth round), 221 (sixth round), 228 (sixth round) and 250 (seventh round).
Bears select Virginia Tech running back Khalil Herbert with 217th pick
The Bears used the 217th overall pick (sixth round) on Virginia Tech running back Khalil Herbert. Herbert averaged 7.7 yards per carry in 2020, which was fourth in FBS football. He ran for 1,182 yards in 11 games. He was the first Virginia Tech running back to reach 1,000 rushing yards since 2011.
He has kick return experience, which the Bears could use after losing Cordarrelle Patterson to free agency.
Herbert (5-8, 210) played the first four years of his college career at Kansas. Four games into his senior season, he redshirted and announced he intended to transfer, saving a year of eligibility. Herbert bet on himself and turned it into a 1,000-yard season with the Hokies and an NFL draft pick.
“Everything I set out to do I did,” Herbert said. “So now I’m onto the next step.”
“[He’s] explosive, fast, versatile,” Pace said. “Also provides a lot of value on special teams. That was kind of a theme for us in that area of the draft.”
Bears add North Carolina WR Dazz Newsome
The Bears picked North Carolina receiver Dazz Newsome with the 221st overall pick (sixth round).
Newsome (5-10, 190) caught 72 passes for 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2019, leading the Tar Heels in receptions. His production slowed as a senior in 2020 (54 catches for 684 yards and six touchdowns), but he was still an honorable mention All-ACC selection.
Newsome projects as a slot receiver with punt return experience. Newsome does well at creating after the catch as well.
“That goes back to rec league,” Newsome said. “I played running back most of my life and I played it in high school too, so I would just say that when I get the ball I just turn into a running back instantly.”
Bears address cornerback position
Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. was the Bears’ third and final pick of the sixth round. The team drafted him with the 228th overall pick.
Graham played three seasons at Oregon before opting out of the entire 2020 season. As a junior in 2019, he led Oregon with 12 passes defended in 14 games. He was third in FBS football with 21 passes defended as a sophomore in 2018. He grabbed eight interceptions over three seasons.
“He’s a versatile corner, he can play outside, he can play inside,” Pace said. “He opted out this year but really stood out in the Senior Bowl. We really liked his competitiveness, his energy, kind of the spark that he has.”
With their final pick, Bears take BYU DT Khyiris Tonga
The Bears selected BYU defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga with the 250th overall pick (seventh round). Tonga was a team captain for BYU as a senior and played in 50 games over four seasons. At 6-foot-2, 325 pounds, he eats up space in the run game and disrupted passing lanes, swatting down 12 passes from the line of scrimmage in his college career.
“[It’s] just learning to get your hands up at the right time and timing it,” Tonga said. “That’s something that I developed throughout the years at BYU and it’s been working beautiful for me. I enjoy any way I can be disruptive, tapping the ball in the air or getting a sack.”
Pace liked that ability to swat passes and called Tonga “a natural fit with our defense.”