Mel Kiper Jr.’s Final Mock Draft Has the Bears Taking Paris Johnson Jr.
If you’re anything like me, you’re straddling the fence on being absolutely done with mock drafts and genuinely curious about what the next one could bring.
But mostly, I think you, me, and anyone else who reads this are eagerly awaiting the real thing.
The NFL Draft opens its doors at seven. And when the Chicago Bears go on the clock, long-time ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. believes Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. will be the pick.
Chicago might be hoping Carter falls here; remember when we thought it might take him at No. 1 overall? Instead, the Bears could pivot to offensive tackle and take the top lineman. We could see a run on tackles in the teens.
Ever since Bears GM Ryan Poles parked himself with a front-and-center view at Johnson’s pro day, I’ve had this feeling that he could be the guy. There are other offensive line options. But Johnson makes the most sense. He has experience playing multiple positions, has been a top OL prospect going on a year now, and has some familiarity with Bears quarterback Justin Fields. A little familiarity never hurt anyone.
As for the rest of the top-10, here is what Kiper’s guesstimates look like:
- PANTHERS: Bryce Young, Alabama QB
- TEXANS: Will Anderson Jr., Alabama OLB
- TITANS: C.J. Stroud, Ohio State QB (via trade with Arizona)
- COLTS: Will Levis, Kentucky QB
- SEAHAWKS: Jalen Carter, Georgia DT
- LIONS: Devon Witherspoon, Illinois CB
- RAIDERS: Christian Gonzalez, Oregon CB
- FALCONS: Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech DE
- BEARS: Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State OT
- EAGLES: Bijan Robinson, Texas RB
If this is how the draft board falls, then I’d run the Johnson pick to The Commish as quickly as possible. Sure, there would be some temptation to take Texas running back Bijan Robinson. Drafting Robinson would give the Bears an unstoppable run game that would let OC Luke Getsy live out his wildest dreams. And part of me would like to see Chicago go in a different direction and choose Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Imagine the Bears having four worthwhile receiver options in a modern offense. That’s the stuff I dream of at night (and when I used to build teams in Madden Franchise Mode). But in the end, I wouldn’t quibble with the Johnson pick. Not one bit.
And with that, I’m done with mock drafts.
Until Monday when we do our first mock looking ahead to 2024.
I’m kidding, by the way. We’ll wait until Tuesday for that… 😜