The Bears Are Not-So-Subtly Tipping Their Plans for the No. 9 Overall Pick

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The Bears Are Not-So-Subtly Tipping Their Plans for the No. 9 Overall Pick

Chicago Bears

Remember when we penciled in Braxton Jones as the Chicago Bears’ starting left tackle?

Well, there’s a reason we used a pencil.

While speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus left the door open to Jones making the switch to right tackle:

And just like that, we have a newfound sense of clarity regarding where the Bears could (and probably will) go with their upcoming first-round draft pick.

But good luck pegging who that future left tackle could be. There isn’t a consensus top left tackle on the board; though there are some worhty options I can see growing into that position. However, Eberflus’ statement has me thinking it won’t be Jones. And it won’t be because of anything he did wrong. Tough break, young fella. Thanks for your hard work as a rookie. Here’s a new position for you to learn and excel at as a second-year player. Good luck!

Tip your cap to Jones, who didn’t miss an offensive snap last year. To go from being a fifth-round rookie to being a team’s left tackle protecting the franchise quarterback is a quantum leap. On top of that, Jones was effective as a left tackle. Pro Football Focus had Jones graded as a top-20 offensive tackle last year. There were 81 qualifiers for the PFF leaderboard. You don’t need to be a mathmagician to know that you’re in good standing when slotting among the top 20 in a group of 80. But even with Jones’ prior-year performance and good grades from PFF, he still could be on the move to a different position. Go figure.

That the Bears are “open” to a Jones position switch isn’t an indication of how they feel about Jones. Instead, my read here is that the team must really be into a left tackle prospect it feels has the potential to be a true anchor. Is it Paris Johnson Jr.? Or Broderick Jones? Maybe it is Peter Skoronski. The Bears have options. And I’d bet they’ll explore all avenues in unearthing all information before landing on their best fit.

Seeing Eberflus already greasing the skids in noting that his experience as a left tackle could be beneficial on the right side suggests that they could draft a left tackle with their first pick. I’d stop short of saying Eberflus’ words “strongly” suggest that the ninth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft will be a left tackle. But it wouldn’t take much to nudge me the rest of the way.

We’ll monitor this situation with great interest moving forward.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.