We’ve reached the point in this 3-10 Bears season where it’s time to talk about the 2023 NFL Draft. The Bears are in a rebuilding year so it’s not surprising to be at this point. So, I want to look at the 2 strategies the Bears can follow in the NFL Draft.
The first strategy available to them is for the Bears to stay put with their top 2-4 pick. They’re currently projected to pick 3rd overall behind the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. Those are good teams to have picking in front of the Bears, as they both are likely to take a Quarterback. The Texans would likely take Bryce Young and then the Panthers would likely take CJ Stroud.
This would leave the Bears with some very intriguing options, mostly defensive superstars. Georgia DT Jalen Carter is someone I’d be shocked to see the Bears not to be all over. He’s a strong and explosive defensive lineman who gets penetration at a very high rate. Carter was teammates with Jordan Davis, who was considered one of the best defensive tackle prospects we’ve seen in a few years, and most mock drafts and draft experts consider Carter a better prospect, with Jalen Carter expected to be a top 5 pick, while Jordan Davis was picked 13th. Jalen Carter is a little bit similar to Javon Hargrave. He’s got a lot of the similar pass rush strengths, and is also a solid run defender.
Alabama EDGE rusher Will Anderson is considered by many to be a generational prospect. He’s been expected to be a to be a top 3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for a couple of years now, and as the draft approaches, that’s about to come to forwishen. Anderson really specializes with his power and flexibility and is really good at converting his pressures into sacks. He reminds me a lot of Von Miller when he came out of Texas A&M in 2011. There’s a lot of similarities. A Von Miller type of career is of course extremely successful, why wouldn’t you want a guy on that level.
Those are the only 2 guys I can see the Bears taking at the top of the draft. They’re far and away the 2 best defensive players in this class and there’s not a top flight generational offensive lineman or wide receiver available. So this leaves them with another option.
The Bears can trade down and get extra draft capital, which is needed for the Bears after the Chase Claypool trade, when they gave up their own 2nd round pick, which is currently projected to be 34th overall. Maybe they can trade down with a team such as Seattle if they do still want to move on from Geno Smith for a younger player, or maybe they happen to really like a defensive player like Clemson EDGE rusher Myles Murphy or Georgia CB Keelee Ringo. They could also take either Jalen Carter or Will Anderson, but that would likely require them giving the Bears more capital.
Think about this. The San Francisco 49ers traded up from 6th overall to the 3rd overall pick, which was held by the Miami Dolphins. Miami received 3 first round picks in the trade. Those first round picks were used to draft Jaylen Waddle, trade for Tyreek Hill, and trade for Bradley Chubb. If the Bears get a haul half as good as that, they have to pull the trigger.
So if the Bears make this move? Who are some guys they can target?
The first guy that comes to mind is USC WR Jordan Addison. Addison is a prototypical X receiver. He’s a precise route runner and he also has prototypical size for the position. He has something that Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool can’t bring: A good size and shiftiness combination. Addison reminds me a good bit of Stefon Diggs. Diggs is about 20 pounds bigger, but Addison certainly doesn’t have any problems taking big hits. If the Bears want a game changing WR for years to come, Addison could be their guy.
The other guy that intrigues me in a trade down scenario is Northwestern Offensive Tackle Peter Skoronski. Skoronski is a relatively can’t miss tackle prospect. He moves great laterally, which leads him to be a good run blocker and he is great with his hands and feet, leading him to be sound in pass protection. I’m sure there’s a sense of attraction within the Bears organization due to him being a Chicago area kid. Skoronski has some Lane Johnson in him in terms of all around effectiveness as an offensive lineman.
We have a lot of time left until the draft. Free agency will happen first, which is great for the Bears, who are armed with $130 million in cap space. The draft picture will be clearer depending on what the Bears do with that cap space. The team will obviously be more complete heading into the draft than what it is right now.