The Bears Don't Draft an Offensive Lineman at No. 9

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Bleacher Nation NFL 2023 Mock Draft: The Bears Don’t Draft an Offensive Lineman


The Bleacher Nation NFL 2023 Mock Draft will be a running mock draft that spans between now and round one of the NFL Draft. Each of the 31 picks (Miami forfeited their first-round pick due to tampering) will get a dedicated post. Here’s how it’ll work:

  • Every pick in the Mock Draft gets its own post. We will do one or two picks per day.
  • We will link back to previous posts with a running draft recap.
  • This feature will not include trades and will cover the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Bears are on the clock in the Bleacher Nation NFL Mock Draft …

The Pick Is In

CB Devon Witherspoon — Illinois

The Fit

I could have gone offensive line here, but I’m not very high on the lineman in this draft at No. 9. If you’re taking an offensive lineman in the top 10, it better be a Quenton Nelson or Penei Sewell-caliber prospect. Sorry, but Paris Johnson Jr. and Pete Skoronski just don’t move the needle enough for me to spend the ninth pick in the draft on them.

So, with Will Anderson Jr. (Cardinals), Jalen Carter (Seahawks), Tyree Wilson (Lions), and Myles Murphy (Falcons) off the board, I’m going with cornerback Devon Witherspoon.

Witherspoon is a ball-hawking corner with a bona fide CB1 ceiling. He makes the Bears’ secondary look pretty darn good. The obvious need is on the line, but that’s coming on day two, in my opinion.

Scouting Report

PFF has Devon Witherspoon’s role in the NFL labeled as “Island No. 1 CB.” I can get with that at No. 9. Here’s a snippet of their scouting report on Witherspoon:

“You want 11 defenders that see the game the way Witherspoon does. With 2,334 snaps to his name, Witherspoon has seen it all, and it shows on tape. Expect him to get his hands on a ton of footballs in the league.”

I can get with that too.

Despite being a zero-star recruit out of high school, he was a four-year contributor at Illinois and racked up 25 passes defended and five picks in 41 games. He put together his best season in 2022, winning AP First Team All-American honors after notching three picks and 14 pass-breakups. In addition, he didn’t give up a single touchdown in coverage, per PFF. 

Witherspoon is tough and physical in both coverages and against the run. He plays like his hair is on fire, about 50 pounds heavier than he is. He’s relentless at the catch point, agitating at the line of scrimmage, and takes excellent routes to cut off receiver’s routes.

Final Thoughts: Look, calm down for a second, and realize that the Bears have plenty of shots to add to this draft’s offensive and defensive line. Then remember that this isn’t a one-year rebuild, and next year’s draft and free agency will provide more opportunities. With a top-10 pick, you take home run swings and try to land dominant players. Devon Witherspoon fits that criteria in this spot better than anyone left on the board.

Bleacher Nation’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft

  1. Carolina Panthers (via CHI) — QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Houston Texans — QB Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Arizona Cardinals — EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
  4. Indianapolis Colts — QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
  5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) — DT Jalen Carter, Georgia
  6. Detroit Lions (via LAR) — EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
  7. Las Vegas Raiders — QB Will Levis, Kentucky
  8. Atlanta Falcons — EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson
  9. Chicago Bears (via CAR) — CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
  10. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)
  11. Tennessee Titans
  12. Houston Texans (via CLE)
  13. New York Jets
  14. New England Patriots
  15. Green Bay Packers
  16. Washington Commanders
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers
  18. Detroit Lions
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  20. Seattle Seahawks
  21. Los Angeles Chargers
  22. Baltimore Ravens
  23. Minnesota Vikings
  24. Jacksonville Jaguars
  25. New York Giants
  26. Dallas Cowboys
  27. Buffalo Bills
  28. Cincinnati Bengals
  29. New Orleans Saints (via SF)
  30. Philadelphia Eagles
  31. Kansas City Chiefs

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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.