It’s beginning to look a lot like Bearsmas around these parts. The snow is falling and accumulating in my yard. And it is leading to me feel nostalgic for the days of calling your friends to get together to throw the pigskin out front. Out-of-office messages are going up, which means emails are going unanswered and group text threads are heating up. In many (if not all) of those threads, I imagine football chatter is on the rise.
OK, so the Bears aren’t playoff bound. That’s fine. No, really. There are still things we can discuss in group chats and at upcoming in-person family shindigs during the holiday season. So I hope you’re ready to bone up on reverse standings, NFL Draft position, and prospect fits most likely on the Bears’ radar. Because when you’re done with this post, you’ll look back at this as a first step toward being smarter than your uncle who hasn’t seen a Bears game since Ditka’s firing.
This is what the top 10 of the upcoming NFL Draft looks like entering this week’s games:
- Texans (1-12-1)
- BEARS (3-11)
- Seahawks (via Broncos, 4-10)
- Lions (via Rams, 4-10)
- Cardinals (4-10)
- Colts (4-9-1)
- Falcons (5-9)
- Panthers (5-9)
- Eagles (via Saints, 5-9)
- Raiders (6-8)
Imagine a scenario where the Bears have the No. 2 overall pick and quarterback-needy teams like the Colts, Panthers, and Falcons are jockeying for their preferred quarterback prospect. This would create a dream scenario for Bears GM Ryan Poles to add impact talent and draft capital. All because a team would want to leap-frog the Seahawks or Lions for QB2. Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?
More on the prospects the Bears could have eyes on later in this post.
Never Tell Me The Odds…
Football Outsiders’ odds give us a good idea where the Bears will be picking in next spring’s NFL Draft. And if you’re fond of Chicago’s football team landing a top 5 pick, then you’ll love the following: Football Outsiders gives the Bears a 94.9 percent at landing a top 5 selection.
They’re a virtual lock to land in that spot. And while the Texans are a mortal lock to get the top pick, the Bears still have a 13.4 percent shot at getting that selection. They’ll need some good (bad?) luck to get there, but we’ve seen stranger things happen.
I, personally, won’t hold my breath waiting for the top overall selection. HOWEVER, I like the odds of the Bears falling into a premier draft spot. Especially when you consider how things fell in the Bears’ favor last week:
What Are the Latest Mocks Saying?
We’re still rounding up the players who are declaring for the NFL Draft. But we’re starting to get an idea of the top players who will be declaring. And with that in mind, we can start digging into mock drafts.
Here is a sampling of who some of the latest mocks are sending to Chicago (spoiler alert, there is a consensus of two names who pop up everywhere):
CBS Sports: Jalen Carter, Georgia DT
“The phone is ringing off the hook in Chicago as quarterback-needy teams are exploring what it would cost to move up for the right to take a quarterback,” writes CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards. “The Bears send them all to voicemail and draft Carter. General manager Ryan Poles comes from Kansas City and has seen the impact Chris Jones has had on the game. There is no quicker path to the quarterback than an over-the-ball alignment.”
Draft Wire: Will Anderson, Alabama DE
“Obviously, the Bears’ prime objective in the offseason needs to be building around Justin Fields on offense, but that can be done in many different ways,” says Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling. “In this scenario, their best bet is to take perhaps the best overall prospect in the entire draft, replacing what they lost in Robert Quinn.”
Pro Football Network: Jalen Carter, Georgia DT
“The Bears have a lot of holes to consider filling and only one top-three pick to use. It’s a tough call, but Jalen Carter is arguably the best prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, and the Bears have gotten next to no pressure generated on the interior,” writes PFN’s Ian Cummings. “Carter is a rare elite prospect at DT, and he’d change Chicago’s interior presence overnight.”
Walter Football: Will Anderson, Alabama DE
“The Bears have a miserable offensive line, so Justin Fields doesn’t stand a chance when battling teams with elite pass rushes. The front office must do something about this. However, at No. 2 overall, they should pick the best player available, and it’s not like they don’t need an improved pass rush.
Will Anderson has ridiculous speed and athleticism. He’s been a force in Alabama’s defense.”
It feels like it is way too early to declare that there is a near consensus regarding who the Bears will be picking in the 2023 NFL Draft. Especially when their pick isn’t even locked in. But there seems to be an agreement among draftniks who believe that either Carter or Anderson is the best non-QB in this draft. And since there isn’t an anchor offensive lineman at the top of this draft that the Bears can install as Justin Fields’ lead protector, drafting the best player available seems to be the play here.
There figures to be more clarity coming to the NFL Draft picture this weekend. With that in mind, here are the teams you’ll want to root for if you’re pulling for the best possible Bears draft scenario:
- Texans (at Titans)
- Broncos or Rams (both are 4-10 and a win by someone helps the Bears extend their lead for the No. 2 pick)
- Cardinals (vs. Buccaneers, SNF)
- Colts (vs. Chargers, MNF)
In the End
The Bears have to take care of business. And at the end of the day, I think the Bears are finally in a spot where — no matter what happens in their game — they will be well-positioned to draft the best player at an impact position they need to fill. It isn’t the best place to be. I mean, wouldn’t you rather be in the playoff hunt? Of course you would. I would, too. But coming away from next March’s free agency and April’s draft with a haul of talent will put Chicago’s football team back on the right track. Consider these to be our first steps toward a better future.