In the huge, franchise changing trade that went down on Friday, March 10, the Chicago Bears traded down from the No. 1 overall pick with the Carolina Panthers. In return, they received the N0. 9 overall pick, the No. 61 overall pick, the Panthers’ 2024 first-round pick and 2025 second round pick, along with standout wide receiver D.J. Moore. With the new receiving corps of D.J. Moore, Darnell Mooney, and Chase Claypool, we’ll see if the Bears front office wants to pursue another receiver. In any case, I’ve prepared a few draft prospects for the Bears to take at the newly acquired No. 9 spot.
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
Let’s get the big name and fan favorite out of the way. While the Bears’ just traded for D.J. Moore, there’s still potential for another receiver on the roster. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has an established relationship with quarterback Justin Fields during their time at Ohio State together, making this the most mentioned player for this pick. One of the best receivers in this year’s draft class, Smith-Njigba flashed his brilliance throughout his career at Ohio State as a slot receiver. Strengthening the receiving corps would make the offense scarier and a lot more fun to watch.
OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
A pure hometown kid, Skoronski was born in Park Ridge and stayed in-state to play for Northwestern. His play speaks for itself however, allowing only one sack on 882 snaps throughout his whole 2022 season. His absurd 9 foot 7 inch broad jump and 34.5 inch vertical jump showcased his athleticism and potential. The only negative side I’ve seen about Skoronski is his arm length, 32.25 inches, which is supposedly short for his position. However, skill speaks for itself and Skoronski has proven to be a great offensive line piece that could greatly help the struggling Bears’ line.
DL Calijah Kancey, Pitt
A very intriguing player, Kancey put on a show at Pitt by totaling 7.5 sacks to go along with 14.5 tackles for loss during his 2022 season. He also ran a ridiculous 4.67 40-yard dash time. Similar to Skoronski, his only knock is a physical attribute: being undersized. He stands 6’1” tall and weighs in at 281 pounds, but clearly gains speed because of it. Although primarily playing defensive tackle in college, it would be interesting to see Kancey play defensive end as well. Regardless, Kancey is a monster on the line and can cause many problems for the opposing offense. A depleted Bears defense could use a big contributor like Kancey on the line.
CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
An absolute hound on defense, Witherspoon can absolutely be trusted alongside cornerback Jaylon Johnson to lock up any given receiver. Witherspoon would make the defense extremely formidable to throw on. All three of the previous guys are slated to get picked around the No. 9 spot, but Witherspoon is projected to go a few picks before the Bears’ No. 9 pick. The low possibility of Witherspoon falling to the Bears is the reason why he’s lower than the other guys on this list, but make no mistake about it: Witherspoon is easily the best defensive back in the draft.