We are almost here NFL fans, just a few hours before the NFL Draft. All the speculation, the rumors and noise can finally come to an end in Kansas City, Missouri tonight.
But before we get there, I'd like to drop in my final mock draft for the Chicago Bears because a lot has changed since my last mock on Feb. 26.
The Chicago Bears did what I and many Bears fans thought they would do and traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for a royal fortune.
GM Ryan Poles was able to acquire the Panthers first round pick this year No. 9, a second rounder this year (No. 61), a second rounder from the 2025 draft and the Panthers first round pick in 2024.
Despite even all of that the headlining piece might have just been 25-year-old wide-receiver D.J. Moore.
A guy who has had at least 1,000 yards three of the last four seasons with quarterbacks such as Sam Darnold, a washed Cam Newton, Baker Mayfield, P.J Walker, Teddy Bridgewater and Kyle Allen throwing him the rock.
Moore is a bonafide WR1, who I expect to be excited to have a quarterback like Justin Fields throwing him laser beams across the field.
Now while we all have praised the trade, it's now all up to Poles and assistant GM Ian Cunningham to make good on those picks.
Unlike my last one there will be no trades in this mock.
If they follow my mock draft then they should come through with flying colors:
Round 1 Pick 9: Darnell Wright OT Tennessee
While I would love to get Paris Johnson here, a lot of mock drafts have the Ohio State product going much higher than 9, so the Bears get the next best tackle available.
I am a firm believer in Braxton Jones and at the very least he deserves one more season to show that he can be a long term starting tackle in this league. With this in mind grabbing the best right tackle in this draft makes sense.
Wright was an excellent pass blocker in his days with the Volunteers, allowing 0 sacks. He put on an absolute clinic what many consider as the best edge rusher talent in this draft with Will Anderson in their week 6 match-up with Alabama.
He's big, standing at 6'5 and 333 pounds, while also poessesing good arm length at 33 3/4 inches. He should solidify the right side of the offensive line for years to come.
Wright is the final piece for this 2023 starting offensive line for that has already added Nate Davis at guard and has good returning players in Jones, Cody Whitehair and Teven Jenkins.
Round 2 Pick 54 (via BAL): Adetomiwa Adebawore DL Northwestern
This is the three technique player that head coach Matt Eberflus has been looking for.
While Adebawore is a bit undersized for a interior defensive linemen, the former Wildcat has immense athletic tools to be a Pro Bowl level linemen.
If these moves don't impress you, I don't know what will.
Plus it will feed into Poles philosophy of brining in guys who are either from the area or played in the area around Chicago.
Adebawore will be a very productive player in the NFL.
Round 2 Pick 61 (via CAR): Isaiah Foskey EDGE Norte Dame
You can never have too much edge talent and with the state of the Bears pass rush from last year, any talent infusion is good talent infusion.
Foskey is not a one year wonder like some in this draft. Over the last two years, Foskey has put up 11 sacks each.
He is fast and has good size at 6'5 and 264 pounds, the perfect size of a 4-3 defensive end.
I would love to see Foskey wearing terrorizing the NFC North for many Sundays to come iwith the Bears.
Round 3 Pick 64: Luke Wypler C Ohio State
While this isn't the Ohio State offensive linemen that Bears fans have been clamoring for, he is still a valubale player moving forward.
Wypler was a good starter with the Buckeyes, becoming an All-Big 10 honorable mention while starting all 13 games this season.
Some of his pro-comps seem to be fellow NFC north center Garett Bradberry, as an undersized center but with great athletic tools. If he can build up his strength a bit, he can be a good NFL starter with the Bears and that's the least you can ask out of a third round pick.
I do not expect Wypler to start this year, whether that is because the Bears have moved Whitehair back to center or they trot out Lucas Patrick back in the starting lineup. Regardless, Wypler having a year to learn the offense and learn from two quality veteran centers will only help.
Look for Wypler to start in 2024 after Patrick is off his current contract and if Whitehair is cut after this season, with no more guarnteed money after 2024.
Round 4 Pick 103: Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson CB TCU
The Bears need to find their new slot corner back and Hodges-Timlinson is it. Jaylon Johnson has proven he can be an above average CB1 and second year player Kyler Gordon looked much better on the outside towards the end of the season.
The former Horned Frog could "slot," in nicely as the nickel corner in this Bears defense.
While not not claiming to have great speed, with a 4.41 40 yard dash and standing just at 5'8, there is one thing Hodges-Tomlinson has that all slot corners need: great burst.
Burst essentially comes down to weighting and adding a person's broad jump and vertical jump to measure a player's explosiveness.
Hodges-Tomlinson was put into the 88th percentile in terms of burst.
He'll need some work, but Matt Eberflus has done great work in getting the most out of any defensive player he can get his hands on.
Round 4 Pick 133 (via PHI): Kayshon Boutte WR LSU
The pick from the Robert Quinn trade and with the lack of production the Eagles got out of the former stud pass rusher, Bears fans should be thankful to have this pick.
Moving on to who the Bears should use this pick on, I think it's time they shift back to the offense after using three of their last four picks on defense.
I absolutely love the top three receivers in Moore, Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool, but the guys behind them have me a bit worried.
Those guys are:
Equanimeous St. Brown
Velus Jones Jr.
Boutte adds a good depth and a bit more proven young talent than Jones or Webster.
The former LSU Tiger put up 735 yards and five touchdowns, while taking his catches for an average of 16.3 yards.
While not a full blazing speed player like Tyreke Hill, Boutte has a good second gear to get separation from defenders. He can also take shorter throws into much bigger plays, like he did here agaisnt Georgia this past season.
If the Bears are serious about helping Fields develop in the short to intermediate areas of the field, Boutte could be another option behind Moore, while Claypool can act as a big body threat with Mooney trying to take the top off the defense.
Could make for a really dynamic offense for Chicago for the first time in over a decade.
Round 5 Pick 136: Zach Evans RB Ole Miss
I was very sad to see David Montgomery sign with the division rival Detroit Lions. "Monty," was part of some really frustrating and bad Bears teams and I would have liked for him to stay around.
However I can understand Ryan Poles probably not wanting to pay that type of money to a running back. We have all seen the table of the last few Super Bowl winners and how much they pay their running backs. Spoiler alert, it's not a lot of money.
So Poles is putting his trust in third year player Khalil Herbert and free agents Travis Homer and D'onta Foreman. That is a really solid running back group heading into this season, but I can see Poles adding a guy like Evans into the mix to develop behind three solid backs.
While Evans does have injury concerns, he has a good combination of size and speed, weighing in at 200 pounds while averaging nearly seven yards per carry with the Rebels.
The former five-star recruit does have some injury concerns, suffering a toe injury in 2021 and then hip and concussion injuries in 2022, but if he can get a clean bill of health I think he could be a good rotational running back in the league.
Round 5 Pick 148 (via NE): Dante Stills DT Missouri
Just like edge rusher, you can never have too much interior line depth. Outside of Justin Jones last year, the Bears didn't recieve a ton of production from the rest the interior of their D-line.
Stills would be a good rotational defensive linemen for years to come.