With the 2023 Senior Bowl in the books, now is when we start hearing rumors about the draft and what guys are liked by certain teams. One of the rumors that came about was Bears General Manager Ryan Poles possibly trading back twice in the draft. So I ran a mock draft where he traded back 2 times and here is what I came up with.
TRADES – 1st overall for 2nd overall and pick 33, 2nd overall for 4th overall and pick 35 and 2024 1st
4. Georgia DT Jalen Carter
It wouldn’t be a Bears mock draft without Jalen Carter or Will Anderson. Carter offers the most upside of any defensive player in this draft. The pass-rushing ability combined with the run-stopping ability is second to no other player in this draft. He’s the top player on my board, so getting Carter at No. 4 is good value.
33. Clemson LB Trenton Simpson
While the Bears have bigger needs than linebacker, Simpson is a tremendous value at the top of the 2nd round. He’s a top 20 player in the class and the best linebacker in the draft. His athleticism and versatility is what will draw the Bears to him. I’d be stunned if he falls this far, but if he were there, the Bears would be crazy not to take him, especially since in this scenario they have a pick 2 spots later.
35. UNC WR Josh Downs
One of my favorite Wide Receivers in this draft is UNC WR Josh Downs. Downs Downs is a Speedster out of Carolina. I see him as a slot wide receiver in the NFL which is something the Bears need. I have Downs as the fourth ranked receiver on my board and very easily worth the first round pick like Simpson, getting Downs at pick 35 early in the second round would be tremendous value and something they shouldn’t pass up.
54. Kansas State EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
The Bears struggled tremendously getting to the quarterback last season. Both on the interior, and off the edge. They addressed the interior of the defensive line with Jalen Carter with the fourth overall pick. Here they get Uzomah, my fourth ranked edge rusher who is still a bit raw but has all the physical upside in the world to be a good player in the NFL, and a guy I think the Bears should consider late in the second round.
64. Cedric Tillman WR Tennessee
Tillman is the second receiver I am drafting in this mock draft, but he is not the same style receiver as Josh Downs who I took with a 35th overall pick. Tillman is a bigger outside wide receiver who has a completely different skill set than Downs. Tillman gives the Bears a jump ball threat immediately and if he can refine his route running he can develop into a really Dynamic piece for the Bears.
103. Wisconsin Center Joe Tippmann
Tippman is the 2nd best Center on my board. The way he moves to the 2nd level of defenses to knock linebackers and safeties out of plays on run plays is sensational. He’s a sound pass protector. I wasn’t very aware of Tippmann before the end of the season but after watching his season back, it’s clear that this guy was one of the best centers in all of college football and the Bears would be very wise to take a chance on him in the fourth round.
137. Iowa State WR Xavier Htuchinson
Hutchinson is my fifth 6th ranked receiver and the entire draft. He has a dynamic skill set. He can run routes, he can make contested catches, he has good speed, and can block in the run game. There is no weakness to his game. Some people question the quality of defensive backs he went up against, but I think a talented receiver like him just wins. Xavier Hutchinson won his matchups week in and week out throughout his career with questionable quarterback play. I know I took two receivers already. One of each archetype. A shifty dynamic receiver and a big outside guy. Hutchinson can do both at 6’4. There is no reason Hutchinson shouldn’t be a second round pick at the worst, which is why the Bears need to draft him even if it’s in the second or third round. He was here at 137 in this mock draft and I took him because it was the steal of the entire draft.
150. Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn
Deuce Vaughn is one of ”my guys” in this draft. He’s my RB5 in this class. He’s the smallest player in the draft and will be the smallest player in the whole league right when he steps into it. He’s a shifty and elusive running back. He’s tough. He handled a major workload for multiple years at K-State as the workhorse back. He ran well in between the tackles as well as running outside the tackles. He can also catch the ball effectively.
178. Kansas State CB Julius Brents
Brents is the 3rd K-State player in this mock. He is a scrappy corner who doesn’t shy away from the moment. He’s one of the bigger risers from the Senior Bowl. Brents is one of the best press corners in the draft and he also is really good at jamming the receiver at the top of his route. Brents is prone to giving up the big play, but he also can give you a big game-changing play on defense as well.
199. Coastal Carolina DL Jerrod Clark
Clark is one of the better day 3 options as an interior pass rusher. As previously stated, the Bears were awful at generating pressure on the QB. Clark is a really solid athlete and while he may never be a star, you feel pretty good about what you get as a player the day he steps into the league.
220. UCLA QB Dorian Thompson Robinson
Backup QBs have proven to be important. Brock Purdy, Tyler Huntley, Gardner Minshew, and Skylar Thompson all had to play meaningful games down the stretch. What’s also important is having a backup QB with the same skill set of the starting QB. This makes it easy for the coaches to gameplan around the backup. DTR is a smart and experienced player. He also has athleticism, which is the biggest part of Justin FIelds game. Using a late round pick on DTR is a smart idea.