Posted on: April 23, 2023 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Graphic by James Landgraf

Bears Fans have been talking about the offseason dating back to the middle of the season. And this week, we encounter the day which NFL fans have zoned in on: Draft Day. After several mock drafts and trying to connect the dots, Bears fans will finally get to meet the 2023 rookie class. 

General Manager Ryan Poles has labeled three qualities when trying to approach the draft: athleticism no matter what position the player is in, flexibility playing a position of need, and value in terms of draft position. In this mock draft, I determined these picks based on these qualities.

Mohammed Jbara

Freelance Contributor

It’s been a rollercoaster of an offseason to say the least. After trading the no. 1 overall pick, the Bears are set with 10 draft picks scattered around all seven rounds in this draft class. The Bears still have a glaring need on the offensive line, particularly at right tackle. This mock draft is going to highlight the selections I think can make an impact for the Bears on day 1. Here’s what to expect.

The Chicago Bears trade the 9th overall pick, 61st overall pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 17th overall pick and the 32nd overall pick

There are many routes the Bears could take at pick nine. 

But recently, talk of trading back once again has been spreading like a wildfire. I see the Bears doing this again.

 According to reports, the Steelers have their eyes set on two options: star defensive tackle Jalen Carter from Georgia or picking the best offensive tackle available. Carter was a projected top 5 pick, but since his character issues began to surface, teams seem to have fallen out of love with him. However, there’s no disputing his talent. Rumors of the Steelers willingness to trade up have crystallized as well. And having previously done business with the Bears and Poles before, it’s looking likely it will happen again.

Trading into the Top 10 is going to cost the Steelers. However, the compensation for this trade is at the right price for both teams to pull the trigger. What’s the motive for this trade for the Bears? The key is to receive the 32nd pick they once owned. The Chicago Bears acquired wide receiver Chase Claypool from the Steelers during last season in return for the 32nd overall pick. Claypool is a good player, but for a wide receiver who hasn’t cracked 1000 yards in a single season since he entered the league, that was a steep price to pay. 

All could be right in the world if the Bears can get this deal done.

With the 17th overall pick, The Chicago Bears select Darnell Wright, offensive tackle, University of Tennessee

Fans and analysts mocked the Bears’ idea of drafting either Peter Skoronski or Paris Johnson Jr. They are all great prospects but there’s a problem: They’re both left tackles.

Darnell Wright is the solution.

Photo by Kate Luffman

Wright has been shooting up draft boards to the point where some may have him as the top offensive linemen in this draft class. Having a ton of experience playing right tackle during his time at Tennessee,  this gives the Bears the opportunity to play him week one of the NFL season. The Bears even brought him to Halas Hall for one of their Top 30 visits, where they met some of the top prospects in this rookie class.

Wright checks multiple boxes for Poles. He’s a glaring need and his value at pick 17 is very high, according to draft analysts. At 6’5” 342 pounds, his performance his senior season earned him All SEC honors. In the 507 passing plays he played for Tennessee, he didn’t allow a single sack.

Starting left tackle for the Bears right now is Braxton Jones. Fans have entertained the idea of trying to move him to right tackle, but that would stunt his growth and development. The Bears’ coaching staff have said nothing about moving him. Selecting Wright satisfies both sides’ arguments when it comes to the starting tackles. Jones gets to stay at left tackle and can develop, while the Bears get the best right tackle in the country.

With the 32nd pick, the Chicago Bears select Jahymr Gibbs, running back, Alabama

Free agency saw the Bears lose one of their focal points on offense, running back David Montgomery, who signed with rivals Detroit Lions on a 3-year-deal. One flaw of Montgomery’s game is that he’s not as effective in the passing game as the running game. Only mustering up 316 receiving yards isn’t enough to be considered one of the top running backs in this league. As much as we Bears fans loved Montgomery, he is replaceable. 

Photo by Andrew Wevers

The Bears did sign D’onta Foreman from the Carolina Panthers, but they still need that imposing running back that can complement Justin Fields. Jahmyr Gibbs is just that.

His time in Alabama was sensational. In his last season for the Crimson Tide, he finished with 926 rushing yards, while also catching 44 balls for 444 yards. That’s what is great about Gibbs. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. He can do everything. Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s coaching scheme relies heavily on running backs being able to run well, while also being a viable option in the passing game. Gibbs has what it takes.

Analysts have Gibbs mocked as a late first or early second round draft pick, which is why it’s such a brilliant idea to trade back with the Steelers. Justin Fields was electric in his second year in the league. Having him with a three headed monster at running back in Gibbs, Foreman, and Khalil Herbert is an idea the Bears simply can’t pass up.

With the 103rd pick, the Chicago Bears select Zach Harrison, defensive end, Ohio State University

If there was an objective for Poles in this draft as important as solidifying the offensive line, it’s reconstructing this defensive line. 

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After being ranked as the worst defensive unit in the NFL, Poles needs to act quick and shore up his defensive line if the Bears want to be a playoff team this season. Zach Harrison from Ohio State would be a great start.

At 6 ‘6” 274 pounds, Harrison was wreaking havoc for the Buckeyes. He did only rack up three sacks this past season, but his athleticism stuck out to analysts and scouts. Harrison ran a 4.62 40-yard-dash at the combine, a number that opened a lot of eyes. 

The only reason he’s not picked in the first two rounds is because this draft class is filled with premier defensive end talent. Ohio State is known to produce some of the best defensive ends in the league. Zach Harrison might not have the same ceiling, but if he becomes a stud, the Bears’ woes at the Defensive line would be solved.

With the 133rd pick, the Chicago Bears select Jayden Reed, wide receiver, Michigan State University

It’s time to present what would be the steal of the 2023 NFL draft: Jayden Reed. 

Now, the question that would appear from this selection is: The Bears just traded for DJ Moore and still have Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool, so why would they select another wide receiver? The answer is the old cliche, you can never have too many weapons. 

Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool are both entering their final years of their contracts and looking to secure some big money. Jayden Reed provides the Bears with a cushion to ease the pressure of giving big contracts to Mooney and Claypool.

Photo by Sean Scherer

The Michigan State receiver has been one of the bright talents the Spartans had in their ranks. After transferring to Michigan State his sophomore year, Reed had 797 yards with 8 touchdowns. The following year in 2022, he finished with over 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns. At 5’11” 187 pounds Reed isn’t the big wide receiver that’s just going to dominate corners with his size. 

Rather he’s just what Fields needs: a speedy wide receiver who can get open when he’s needed to. And with his 4.40 40-yard time, he will be just that. At the Senior Bowl, Reed said he would love to play with Fields. And on top of all that, Reed grew up in Naperville, IL as a Bears fan. It just makes too much sense.

After the 2023 draft, we will see a completely different Bears team from 2022. 

After investing roughly $64 million in cap space and utilizing 10 draft picks, the Bears have the potential to set themselves up for the playoffs this year. That’s what’s important for Poles. He needs this team to keep showing progress. Of course, that progress depends on how many players Poles chooses correctly.

This mock draft is what Bears fans can expect Thursday, bringing in an offensive tackle that would solidify a new offensive line unit for your franchise quarterback, bringing in more weapons to surround Fields to help his development, and addressing the defensive line.