It's every wannabe GM's favorite time of the year: mock draft season. With the combine just a few days away, this is my last chance to get a mock draft for Bears in before then.
Despite a 3-14 season, there is optimism in the city of Chicago with the No. 1 pick and around 100 million dollars in cap space to work with.
In this piece, I will go through a full seven round Mock Draft I did with Pro Football Focus.
Yes there are trades and I tried to be as reasonable as possible with the system.
If you disagree please leave a comment. With all of that out of the way, here is the Chicago Bears 2023 draft.
Round 1 Pick 4: EDGE Will Anderson - Alabama
Here is where the fun begins. The Bears do not need a quarterback, so leveraging the No. 1 pick with several QB-needy teams in the top 10 of the draft would be huge to start filling out the rest of the roster.
In this reality, the Bears are trading with the Indianapolis Colts to help them find their QB of the future.
Here are the terms of the deal:
Bears Receive: No. 4, No. 35, No. 79 (from WAS), 2024 1st round (IND), 2024 2nd round (IND)
Colts Receive: No. 1, 2024 3rd round (CHI)
While you could argue that the Colts giving up their top two picks from 2024, I think receiving a 3rd rounder will help fill that void. However, if you really wanted to, you could remove the 2nd from Indy and the 3rd from 2024.
With the No. 1 pick the computer had the Colts taking Will Levis out of Kentucky. While in my personal opinion, QB 1 in this draft is Bryce Young, I could see Indy taking a guy who has the better measureless to be an NFL QB.
As for the Bears, they need more picks to fill out this roster and this is a great place to start. Now with the No. 4 overall pick, the Chicago Bears select Will Anderson.
Pass rush was clearly an issue for the Bears as after trading away Khalil Mack in the off-season and then Robert Quinn, Chicago finished dead-last in the league with 20 sacks.
Rookie safety Jaquan Brisker led the team with four.
The Bears need a dominant edge rusher and Anderson has all the makings of a star pass rusher. The Hampton, Georgia native finished his college career with 34.5 sacks including 17.5 in 2021.
While that production dipped in 2022 with just 10, Anderson was still a productive player in the run and the pass, with 17 tackles for loss.
In the simulation, the Cardinals did take Jalen Carter, but if the two were available I would still go with Anderson. I would rather look to free agency for a dominant interior defensive lineman like Da'Ron Payne and I think the rest of the edge rushers in this class can be good, but not great like Anderson.
Round 1 Pick 19: WR Jaxson Smith-Njigba - Ohio State
The second trade of the mock draft involves the Bears and another team from the south, this time in the NFC with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs are in a transitional phase of their franchise as Tom Brady finally decided to hang up those 20 year old cleats for good. Brady retiring drops his cap hit from $35 million in 2023, to just 11 million and 24 million in 2024.
That won't be enough for them as they will still be $31.4 million over the cap with restructures and cuts on the way.
With only seven total picks, Tampa Bay needs to start to infusing more young talent into the mix. While some say it would be wiser to hold on to the No. 19 pick, I see it as an opportunity to accumulate more picks for more talent.
Here are the terms
Bears receive: No. 19
Buccaneers receive: No. 35, No. 64
With this pick, the Bears fulfill Justin Field's wish of getting JSN on to the team.
Hopefully this turns into the Bears version of the Bengals reuniting Ja'Marr Chase with Joe Burrow.
Despite JSN only playing in three games in 2022 due to a nagging hamstring injury, I still view him as a potential WR1 in the NFL. JSN had tons of buzz during his 2021 season in which he put up 1,595 yards on 95 catches, with nine going for six points.
Some viewed him as a the best wide receiver in the 2021 class even with the likes of Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Drake London and Jameson Williams.
PFF even says, "His ability to break off routes without warning and catch the ball as he’s changing directions is unmatched in the class."
Round 2 Pick 54: C John Michael Schmitz - Minnestota
In an effort to continue to build up the offensive for Justin Fields, the Bears will use their second round pick on Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz.
Despite some (cough, Collin Cowherd) saying the offensive line was decent, any Bears fan or analyst who watched the film that knew that the Bears O-Line was bad last year, giving up 58 sacks last year (4th worst in the league).
Lucas Patrick nor Sam Mustipher are the long term answer at center for the Bears, so investing a late second round pick in a young center would be huge.
Schmitz was the number one graded center according to PFF, with grades of 81.0 pass block and 92.4 in run blocking.
The Bears should be very familiar with Schmitz now, as offensive coordinator Luke Guetsy coached JMS at the Senior Bowl.
Round 3 Pick 79: LB DeMarvion Overshown - Texas
After trading away Roquan Smith, undrafted free agent Jack Sanborn stepped into the starting role and played pretty well before being sidelined with an ankle injury for the final three games of the season.
In between the time the trade and Sanborn's injury, the former Wisconsin Badger had 59 total tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks in just six starts.
However, the rest of the linebackers that played last year for the Bears are free agents and need to be replaced.
In comes, Overshown who would fit well with the Tampa 2 scheme that head coach Matt Eberflus runs.
"If you play on the back seven in the NFL, you’re going to have to make up ground on numerous occasions every game. Overshown has that kind of make-up speed teams are looking for," According to PFF.
While he needs to work on his tackling, Overshown can be a good weak-side linebacker next to Sanborn in the middle.
Round 4 Pick 103: WR Cedric Tillman - Tennessee
Despite going with Jaxson Smith-Njigba in the first, the Bears need more talent in the receiver room and Cedric Tillman brings a different element to the receiver room.
The 6'3" receiver is a vertical threat who can go up for 50-50 balls could be a replacement for N'Keal Harry if the Bears decide not bring him back, because at this point this would be the depth chart:
WR1: Darnell Mooney
WR2: Chase Claypool
WR3: Jaxson Smith-Njigba
WR4: Cedric Tillman
WR5: Equanimeous St. Brown
WR6: Velus Jones Jr.
While it isn't the Tee Higgins trade most are hoping for (myself included) I think this is a more realistic view of how the Bears will improve the wide receivers for Fields.
Round 4 Pick 134: G Chandler Zavala - NC State
In the last pick of this mock draft, the Bears will go with another offensive linemen in NC State's Chandler Zavala.
Looking at the Bears line, they realistically only have two or three total returning, in Braxton Jones, Tevin Jenkins and maybe Cody Whitehair (potential cut candidate).
In two seasons with the Wolf Pack, Zavala has only given up four pressures and zero sacks in over 1,000 offensive snaps.
If the Bears decide to move on from Whitehair to open up more cap space, Zavala could be a solid starter, or if they keep Whitehair, Zavala could be very good depth for Chicago.