The First Post-Super Bowl Mock Drafts Are Out and Some Have the Bears Doing Interesting Stuff
Now that the NFL Draft order is officially set, we can start taking a more serious look at mock drafts.
Let’s jump into it.
My New Favorite Mock Draft
There are days when I feel like there are too many mock drafts to browse through. But then there are days when one hits differently and it has me glad to have a bajillion mocks make their way to my eyeballs.
And this one by Chad Reuter makes me feel things with how he has things going for the Chicago Bears:
This one might be the new leader in the clubhouse for favorite mock drafts. It has everything. Trades! Quarterback movement! Multiple rounds! And a whole bunch of activity by the Bears.
Unlike some mocks that are afraid to project trades, Reuter is fearless. He has the Bears trading down with the Texans in a deal that sends Chicago a pair of picks from the Deshaun Watson trade (including a 1st rounder in 2024). And then again cutting a deal with the Colts for the second overall pick, which gives the Bears first- and second-round picks this spring, plus second- and third-round picks in 2024. It isn’t the best of the possibilities for the Bears. After all, I’d continue insisting on a 2024 first-round pick from the Colts until they gave me the OK. But, hey, if the Bears can rack up a bunch of picks by pitting division rivals in Houston and Indy against each other, then I think GM Ryan Poles can end up doing well for himself.
On top of all of that, Reuter has the Bears making a third trade. The grand finale has the Bears swinging a deal with the Chiefs to get back into the first round to take SMU receiver Rashee Rice. A first-team All-AAC performer in 2022, Rice put up 96 catches for 1,355 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Chicago could use the receiver help, so I’m into it.
As for what the Bears’ three-round mock would look like from Reuter’s perspective, here you go:
- Round 1, Pick 4: Will Anderson, Alabama EDGE
- Round 1, Pick 31: Rashee Rice, SMU WR
- Round 2, Pick 53: Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland OT
- Round 3, Pick 64: Byron Young, Alabama DT
- Round 3, Pick 73: Luke Wypler, Ohio State C
Five picks in the first two days that address needs on the offensive line (Duncan, Wypler), defensive line (Anderson, Young), and receiver (Rice) while adding four picks in the 2024 NFL Draft would be too sweet.
The 33rd Team Has the Wildest Bears Mock Draft Yet
On the one hand, I want to take every mock draft that has the Bears trading away Justin Fields, print it, throw it in a pile of rubbish, burn it, and sprinkle its ashes at the Soldier Field 50-yard-line for cathartic reasons. But on the other hand, I like to laugh. Laughter is good this time of year. And that is what I found myself doing with this most recent mock draft they posted.
This one is a doozy:
The irony here is that the Panthers could’ve had Fields had the old regime not been scared off. Whoopsiedoodle.
I’ll give this mock draft credit for this: The idea of trading down to the Panthers’ ninth pick and drafting an offensive tackle of Paris Johnson Jr.’s potential is the kind of move I could talk myself into liking if the Bears were able to pull it off. Johnson was a Consensus All-American and first-team All-Big Ten tackle in 2022. For what it’s worth, Johnson has experience at guard (in addition to tackle) so there could be positional versatility and flexibility should he not work out at whatever first position he plays at in the pros.
To be clear, this wouldn’t be the best-case scenario for the Bears in Round 1. But it could be an acceptable one.
Mock Draft Roundup
A look around the internet to see which players an assortment of folks send to Chicago.
- Derrick Bell (Complex) acknowledges that the Bears likely want to start a bidding war for the first pick. But Bell also notes the team doesn’t want to go too far down the draft board and take itself out of the running to take a blue-chip talent.
- Matthew Freedman (Fantasy Pros) echoes those sentiments. So, for the sake of those mocks, Bell and Freedman both send Alabama ace pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. to Chicago.
- Meanwhile, Michael Renner (Pro Football Focus) projects it would take the Colts sending the 4th, 36th, and a 2024 second-rounder to move up with the Bears to get the first overall pick. That feels a little light to me, but it is on the right track. In PFF’s first post-Super Bowl mock draft, Renner has the Bears and Colts making a deal. And with the fourth pick, Renner has the Bears taking Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. after all that dust settles. I think we’ll see Anderson’s name connected to Chicago a bunch between now and the draft.
- Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports) has a mock draft that sends Anderson (I’m seeing a trend here!) to Chicago. But it is this bit of praise for Anderson that sends me UP:
“Will Anderson Jr. is in the same pre-draft conversations as Chase Young and Nick Bosa when it comes to the best non-QB players in a class.”
- Joseph Acosta (SB Nation) is getting warmer in terms of what I’d be willing to accept in a Bears trade-down. In this mock, Acosta has the Colts getting the first overall pick with the Bears landing Indy’s first two picks in this draft *AND* a 2024 first-round pick. But in this mock draft, he has Chicago getting Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter with the fourth overall pick. For what it’s worth, Anderson is off the board with the Cardinals taking him third overall.