The Bears have made their rebuilding plans perfectly clear over the last few weeks, with both Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn having been traded.
These moves obviously mark a big blow to Chicago’s defense in the short run, but given the draft capital they received and the financial freedom they’ll have going forward, Ryan Poles will have plenty of chances to build a roster in his image.
With more draft capital comes more chances to break down 2023 NFL Draft prospects, which makes me quite happy. I’m a sucker for literally anything draft-related, so while trading Quinn and Smith were difficult for me in that I like both players, I appreciate the opportunity to build through the draft.
Here is my latest 7-round mock draft for the Bears after the new draft picks they have acquired.
Round 1: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
I’ve gone with a wide receiver-heavy approach in Round 1 of most of my mocks, but I figured I’d buck the trend here a bit. Skoronski is as rock solid as they come and has the football IQ, technique, raw power and athleticism needed to project as a Pro Bowl offensive lineman.
Round 2: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
His production in 2022 has been up and down, hence his falling down the board. However, Boutte’s raw talent is impossible to ignore. He’s an explosive receiver who has the size, athleticism, ball skills, route-running savvy and ability after the catch to develop into a star in the NFL.
Round 2 (via Ravens): Jaquelin Roy, DL, LSU
The Bears’ defensive front will require investment this offseason, and adding a player like Roy to their interior defensive line could go a long way. He’s an explosive 3-technique defensive tackle with a polished arsenal of hand techniques who can rush the passer and eat up gaps against the run well.
Round 3: John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
Schmitz plays a position that often doesn’t go early in drafts, and he’ll be 24 years old when he gets drafted. That said, he’s been the best center in college football this year, and I don’t know how close the second-best man has been. He’s a leverage technician with great spatial awareness and very good body control at the point of attack.
Round 4: Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia
Friend of WCG Johnathan Wood from DaBearsBlog tweeted out an interesting graphic that showcased Khalil Herbert’s superiority to David Montgomery in the running game, but it also showed that Herbert has struggled on passing downs.
I've been complaining for weeks that the Bears need to play Khalil Herbert more, so this morning I dug into the data. Turns out I was 100% wrong.— Johnathan Wood (@Johnathan_Wood1) October 31, 2022
I knew Herbert wasn't as good as Monty in the passing game, but holy cow I had no clue it made that big of a difference. pic.twitter.com/WnheKC5ggV
If the Bears do not re-sign Montgomery, they may need to add a back who can block and catch passes to amplify Herbert’s strengths. McIntosh is a bigger back at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, but he’s a soft-handed receiver who has 29 receptions through 8 games this year, he can block well out of the backfield, and he’s also a tough runner with above-average contact balance.
Round 4 (via Eagles): Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati
Pace is smaller for a linebacker at about 6 feet flat, but he seems to be a prospect who would fit well in the Bears’ system. He is a tenacious run defender with a red-hot motor, good downhill speed and a quick processor in the box. He’s also a dominant blitzing option with great hand usage as a pass-rusher and 7 sacks with 16 tackles for a loss through 8 games in 2022.
Round 5: Jaheim Bell, TE, South Carolina
Versatility is the name of the game with Bell, who can take reps as an in-line tight end, an ‘F’ tight end, a fullback, a running back, and as a wide receiver. Though severely underused at South Carolina, he’s an athletic weapon with a thick frame, good ball skills and power after the catch. The tight end screens that Luke Getsy occasionally runs would go crazy with someone as explosive as Bell.
Round 5 (via Ravens): Eyabi Okie, EDGE, Michigan
Formerly known as Eyabi Anoma, Okie has bounced around college football, playing for the likes of Alabama, Houston and UT Martin before transferring to Michigan. The former five-star recruit has taken on a rotational role off the edge for the Wolverines, but he’s a freak athlete at 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds with absurd explosiveness and a physical edge. As raw as he may be, that’s a player worth taking a shot on.
Round 7: Keilahn Harris, WR, Oklahoma Baptist
When looking at a Division II prospect, you want someone who has dominated his competition. That’s the case with Harris, who has had 70 catches for 902 yards and 7 touchdowns through 9 games this year. He exploded for 92 catches, 1,084 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2021, as well. He’s a fluid athlete with loose hips, good deep speed and experience as both a kick and punt returner.