I can’t sugarcoat it, so I’ll just state it plainly: Losing to the Detroit Lions stinks.
But there is a consolation prize that some (if not many) Chicago Bears fans can embrace. Losing that game helps boost the team’s draft assets. I know it isn’t what you want to hear immediately after a gut punch of a loss. But it is the best I can do right now, so hang with me.
For what it’s worth, the Bears project to have the sixth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. And here is what their first five picks look like as of today, via Tankathon’s projections:
- Round 1, Pick 6
- Round 2, Pick 59 (via Ravens)
- Round 3, Pick 68
- Round 4, Pick 105
- Round 4, Pick 134 (via Eagles)
At this point, you’re probably wondering why I was limiting it to the first five picks. My reasoning? Because Pro Football Focus dropped its top 100 prospects list. And there are plenty of players the Bears could have eyes on. There are even some who make sense as Bears fits at various points in the first four rounds.
‘Tis the damn season for prospect watching:
Here are some notable things to keep in mind as you’re trying to look for potential Bears options:
- There are five quarterbacks in the top 50. Four of them (USC’s Bryce Young, Kentucky’s Will Levis, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, and Stanford’s Tanner McKee) land in the top 20, essentially giving them a first-round grade. And three of those QBs (Young – 1st, Levis – 3rd, Stroud – 4th) are top-four overall prospects. Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker is QB5 and 49th overall, but we all know how quarterbacks can be pushed up draft boards based on need. With that in mind, we’re looking at a situation where a handful of quarterbacks going early could push players at other positions of need right into the Bears’ laps. Not just in Round 1, but also in the second round.
- It sure would be great for the Bears to land in a place where they could trade back with a QB-hungry team for a boatload of draft picks. Because this feels like a draft where a good GM could go to town on their rebuilding plans. *Stares directly into Ryan Poles’ soul*
- Looking for help in the trenches? There are 11 offensive linemen cracking the top 100, but there are more interior OL prospects (6) than tackles (5) in that upper-crust of prospect talent. But all five of those offensive tackle prospects pop up among the top 35, which suggests that the time to strike at that position is early. Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski is OT1 and the seventh-highest-ranked overall prospect. The sweet spot for interior offensive linemen appears to begin somewhere in the 40s. Only one interior offensive lineman (USC’s Andrew Vorhees is 42nd overall) cracks the top 50, but there are five who land between the 60-90 range. Perhaps using a third or fourth-rounder on a guard or center will be the move next spring.
- If there is one position I wish there were more high end prospects on the board, it would be wide receiver. There are 10 wideouts in the top 100. As was the case in this past draft, it looks like the best prospects are in that first-round range, with four receivers (TCU’s Quentin Johnston is 9th, USC’s Jordan Addison is 14th, Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba is 24th, and North Carolina’s Josh Downs is 31st) garnering the equivalent of a first-round grade. But that there are six other prospects that show up in the top 100 might hint at the potential for someone to emerge as a Day 2 option who could play right away. If we put our heads together, we could find this class’ version of George Pickens.
- One place of strength that also happens to be feature positions of high need for the Bears is along the defensive line. There are 20 (!!) edge defenders in the top 100 of PFF’s rankings. And there are 13 (!) interior defenders. Matt Eberflus’ defense could use a mother-trucker coming off the edge. Does Alabama’s Will Anderson intrigue anyone? Anderson is PFF’s No. 2 overall prospect and is the best of the non-QBs. Or maybe Alan Williams would prefer a 3-technique defensive tackle to be a game-wrecker in the middle. There is a case to be made for Georgia’s Jalen Carter (5th overall) as a perfect fit for the Bears’ rebuild.
All in all, the Bears appear to have plenty of options to sort through ahead of NFL Draft Weekend. Just 164 days away for those of you tracking at home.