WUT? There’s a Non-Zero Chance Will Anderson Drops to the Bears at No. 9
If it feels like we’ve been talking about Alabama defensive end Will Anderson Jr. as a Chicago Bears draft target for a while, it’s because we’ve been discussing the possibility of this team taking him for about a year now.
Because when mock drafts began dropping last May, Anderson was often the top defensive player available. With prognosticators guessing (rightfully so, as it turns out) that the Bears would have a top 10 pick in 2023, Anderson was often the choice to go to Chicago. And when Chicago had the first pick (briefly) earlier this year, I was open to Anderson being The Guy (but only on the off chance there was absolutely no one trading to move into the No. 1 spot). Hey, don’t give me that look! I like to keep my options open. Only a Sith deals in absolutes. And I’ve not gone full Dark-side user just yet.
Anyway, the dreams of the Bears landing Anderson after trading back are mostly gone. But one NFL pundit thinks there is a chance that Anderson’s draft stock tumbles down to a place where Chicago can get him:
I’m not sure what kind of black magic I need to dive into over the next few hours to make this happen. However, I think I’d be willing to take the risk and find out. Because if there is any prospect I’d love to fall in the Bears’ laps, it is Anderson.
Anderson was giving off serious Khalil Mack vibes at the Combine — and I was very much into it. Getting a Myles Garrett comp dropped on him back in February was a head-turner. But it also had me thinking hard about what the Bears should do with the No. 1 pick (had they decided to keep it). They didn’t keep it. But it was worth discussing when they had it at the time. Why? Just check out Anderson’s loaded résumé:
- 3x All-SEC performer (first-team honors in 2021 *AND* 2022)
- 2s SEC Defensive Player of the Year
- 2x unanimous All-American (2021 and 2022 were pretty lit for this guy!)
- A collection of trophies (Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award, Lott Trophy, etc.).
It’s not just the hardware. The eye-popping production (34.5 sacks, 58.5 tackles-for-loss in 41 games over three seasons) stands out. Then again, it makes Anderson being available at No. 9 feels like a long shot. But I guess there is a chance NFL teams start overthinking the draft. If you squint, you can see it happening. It might begin if the draft looks something like this in the first eight picks:
- QB Bryce Young, Panthers
- QB CJ Stroud, Texans
- OL Paris Johnson Jr., Cardinals
- QB Will Levis, Colts
- DE Tyree Wilson, Seahawks
- DT Jalen Carter, Lions
- CB Christian Gonzalez, Raiders
- RB Bijan Robinson, Falcons
There are some other iterations of the chips falling this way. Which is to say that the idea of Anderson falling on draft day isn’t all that crazy. I mean, he shouldn’t drop down boards. Not with his production and accolades. But if it happens, and Anderson slips to the ninth pick, the Bears better be ready to take him. I know I’ll be ready for it.