It is December 1, which means the NFL Mock Drafts are about to come to us in waves.
Unlike last year when this time came around, the Chicago Bears actually own their own first-round pick. And for good measure, there is a high likelihood that it will be a top-5 selection. Updated odds from Football Outsiders gives the Bears a 73.3 percent chance at picking in the top 5 and an 8.2 percent shot at landing the top overall pick. And as things stand going into Week 13, Chicago’s football team is in the driver’s seat controlling its own destiny to get the No. 2 overall pick. It doesn’t wholly make up for a 3-9 record, but it makes for a nice consolation prize that could spark this rebuild.
The things the Bears can do with the pick are plenty. Have you seen this team’s depth chart? You could throw a dart at a big board and hit a player at a position of need. But one player who should be high on the consideration list is Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, who Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar projects to go second to the Bears in his latest mock draft.
Yes, I know, we were just talking about Alabama defensive end Will Anderson in this space just days ago. Hang with me here. Because Carter is just as worthy of being a top selection. The 6-3, 300-pound defensive lineman would be an ideal plug-and-play 3-technique with game-wrecking potential. If you find yourself watching Georgia in the SEC championship game, keep your eyes on No. 88. He is a ballplayer who does things like this:
After a year of watching the Bears struggle in the trenches, dropping someone like Carter in the middle of the mess would be a sight for sore eyes.
And I really like Robert Schmitz’s tale-of-the-tape breakdown:
But there’s a but. One I want to address before I pencil in Carter (or even Anderson) to be the next member of the Bears to be taken with the second pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. And it has to do with the rest of Farrar’s mock draft.
Farrar has seven quarterbacks going in the first round. That’s right … seven. By now, you’re probably used to seeing Bryce Young (Alabama) and C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) at the top. And you’re probably accustomed to seeing Will Levis (Kentucky) hanging around in the top 10. But I didn’t think we’d see Anthony Richardson (Florida), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), Hendon Hooker (Tennessee), and Bo Nix (Oregon) also in the mix as first-round candidates. That is absolutely bonkers. Seven QBs going in Round 1 is unheard of in NFL Draft circles. And if it were to come to fruition, my mind will be blown.
All of this brings me to a point that feels necessary to make: Drafting Carter or Anderson is cool, but what would be even cooler is trading out of the No. 2 spot, collecting a bunch of draft picks, and still selecting Carter or Anderson with a first-round selection.
That there are three quarterbacks forecasted to go in the top 5 is a dream for the Bears. Especially if they’re sitting pretty with the second pick. Sure, a draft could play out with teams waiting it out knowing Chicago isn’t going to take a QB after what Justin Fields has been showing lately before his injury. But the Bears could dangle that second pick to a team like the Seahawks or Panthers — squads with top 5 selections who could want to leapfrog the Lions to take C.J. Stroud. Seriously, if Stroud is the clear-cut QB2 in this class, there should be no shortage of teams blowing up Bears GM Ryan Poles’ phone ready to risk it all for the Ohio State product.
The NFL Draft is 148 days away. So it’s not as if anything is imminent. But brace yourselves. The mock drafts are coming. So are the rumors. And the Bears are going to be in the very thick of all the action.