For just the second time in five years, the Chicago Bears own their own first-round pick in an upcoming NFL Draft. So, finally, we get to obsess over some first-round talent, who could help Chicago’s football team as soon as next season.
Before we dive into the brow-raising mock draft trend that inspired this post, I’d like to highlight where the Bears project to be picking in the 2023 NFL Draft:
- The current draft order has them picking 6th overall.
- ESPN’s FPI projects the Bears to pick 4th overall.
- Football Outsiders’ odds have the Bears with a 44.9% chance of landing a top 5 pick. And a 5.4% chance at getting the top overall selection.
- Notable: The Bears are one of four teams with 3-7 records. And one of nine teams with just three wins. In other words, we’re look at a range from No. 3 overall to No. 11. There are a variety of ways this could go, so I’m not ready to peg them in just one spot just yet.
Now that we’re squared away there, we can discuss a growing consensus surrounding what the Bears will do with a premier draft choice. Because it’s not just that CBS Sports, The Athletic, and Pro Football Network have recent mock draft gurus sending a top-flight offensive line prospect to the Bears in next spring’s NFL Draft. It’s that they all have the same one going to Chicago.
These are way-too-early projections, to be sure. But they are welcome ones as offensive tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu is a hot name going to the Bears on the mock draft circuit.
What They’re Saying About Olumuyiwa Fashanu
From The Athletic:
Justin Fields would rejoice. The 6-foot-6, 308-pound Fashanu continues to climb boards as one of the more intriguing youngsters in the class. Just a third-year player with one season (this one) as a full-time starter, Fashanu’s movement skills and size could make him Fields’ long-term answer up front.
Fashanu won’t be 20 years old for a few more weeks, and with Justin Fields proving that he is the team’s future at QB (and arguably the best QB in his draft class), now the Bears need to do a better job of protecting him. Fashanu is athletic, strong and consistent, all things you’d expect from a grizzled veteran, not a first-year starter. He’s only going to get better.
Pro Football Network:
You can’t watch Justin Fields running for his life every week and honestly believe that it’s a sustainable way to run your offense. At some point, the Chicago Bears need to give him time to stand in the pocket and deliver the ball downfield as he showed he was capable of at Ohio State.
Selecting Olumuyiwa Fashanu gives Fields a 6’6″, 308-pound OT with outstanding physical tools that are matched only by elevated technical use of his extremities and an impressive football intelligence that belies his experience level.
So. Much. Good. Stuff. Can the Bears have him now?
Again, it’s wayyyyyy too early for me to feel confident about any one name being connected to the Bears. But it would make sense for Chicago to target offensive line needs early in the draft. Sure, the Bears could very well take care of those needs in free agency. But GM Ryan Poles has made it clear he wants to build through the draft. And what better way to go about that than by plucking an offensive line that can grow along with Justin Fields?
We’ll sort through hundreds of mock drafts between now and when the Bears go on the clock. So we’ll probably see a dozen or so more names linked to Chicago. And I don’t imagine Fashanu’s name will be the last of the offensive linemen.