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2023 Bears mock draft: Will Anderson or Jalen Carter?

WCG’s lead draft analyst shares his latest Bears mock draft with the 2022 NFL regular season nearing its end.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a month since I’ve published a Chicago Bears mock draft here at Windy City Gridiron, and my addiction must be satisfied somehow.

Some dismiss mock drafts as clickbait, and that may be the case in some instances by draft analysts looking for engagement or regular writers looking for easy ways to engage in draft content without actually having to watch tape. By no means should mocks — especially this early — be used as means to accurately predict what will happen in the NFL Draft. I personally love writing mock drafts because it allows me to help walk through potential strategies and scenarios with you all, and it helps me to introduce new prospects onto the scene that may not have been discussed much in the draft stratosphere.

The Bears currently hold the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and if they lose the rest of their three remaining games, that’s likely where they’ll end up once the regular season is over. If the draft were to happen today, what would their haul look like? It’s tough to tell before free agency starts, but for the time being, let’s take a look in my latest Bears 7-round mock draft.

Round 1: Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama

With both Will Anderson and Jalen Carter on the board, I decided to go with the player I have atop my 2023 big board.

Granted, I’m doing this mock draft without knowing exactly where the Bears plan on spending their money in free agency. However, Anderson’s athleticism, hand usage, raw power, flexibility, motor and production make him a “can’t miss” prospect if such a thing exists. If the Bears stay put at No. 2, he’s my top choice.

Round 2 (via Ravens): John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota

Positional value might see several offensive tackles selected before a single center gets off the board in the 2023 draft, but it wouldn’t surprise me if John Michael Schmitz ends up being the most accomplished blocker in this year’s class.

He’s a powerful blocker with a strong anchor, a mean streak at the point of attack, a high football IQ, impressive body control and solid athleticism. His well-rounded skill set projects him as an immediate impact player at the NFL level. If he ends up falling into Round 2 due to positional value and his being 24 years old when he gets drafted, he would be an instant upgrade for the Bears along the interior.

Round 3: Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Iowa State

The free agency class is weak at wide receiver this year, and there isn’t a player at the position worth taking in the top 3, assuming that’s where the Bears end up. If they don’t trade for a veteran, then a Day 2 receiver could end up being an enticing option to complement Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool.

Xavier Hutchinson is an impressive weapon at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds who had 107 catches for 1,171 yards and 6 touchdowns in the regular season this year. For a receiver as lengthy as he is, he’s a fluid route runner with inside-outside versatility, great body control and solid speed. I project him best as a field-side ‘Z’ receiver, where his fluidity shines and his length would make him a physical mismatch.

Round 4: Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh

The Bears have the chance to significantly upgrade their interior defensive line in free agency, but it wouldn’t hurt to continue to add depth to the trenches.

Kancey is listed at 6-foot and 275 pounds, so he’s undersized for an NFL defensive tackle, but his tape and production speaks for itself. He has had 14.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons, and he’s super explosive in his first step. His hand activity is impressive, his flexibility is encouraging, and he plays hard on a consistent basis.

Round 4 (via Eagles): DeWayne McBride, RB, UAB

Getting a thunder to Khalil Herbert’s lightning could be a solid mid-round path the Bears take if David Montgomery leaves.

Over the last two seasons, DeWayne McBride has tallied over combined 3,000 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns. He’s a tough runner with a physical mindset and above-average play strength, and though he doesn’t have elite long speed, his short-area quickness and subtle mobility allows him to exploit open running lanes in between the tackle. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that McBride is a solid pass protector, too.

Round 5: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State

The Bears took a shot on a converted wide receiver-turned-defender in 2022 in the form of Dominique Robinson; could they do it again in 2023 with a player like Daiyan Henley?

A former wide receiver who played the position at Nevada in 2017 and 2018, Henley is a tremendous athlete with plenty of agility and great range as a tackler in space. He offers good upside in zone coverage because of his experience in the passing game and his athleticism, and though he isn’t the biggest linebacker out there, his speed could make him quality depth as a WILL linebacker.

Round 5 (from Ravens via Patriots): Christian Haynes, OG, UConn

Christian Haynes was the first UConn player to earn All-American recognition since 2010, and after watching his 2022 tape, it’s not hard to see why.

He can play a bit undisciplined at times in terms of his technique and weight distribution, but the physical upside with Haynes is obvious. He offers good burst off the line of scrimmage and fluid hips, and he combines that with a powerful anchor and a mean streak when he engages with defenders at the point of contact. With his combination of athleticism and power, he seems like he would fit the prototype the Bears like in their offensive linemen.

Round 7: Celestin Haba, EDGE, Texas A&M-Commerce

Texas A&M-Commerce most recently produced cornerback Kader Kohou, who has been a fantastic undrafted free agent signing for the Dolphins this year. They have some more talented prospects this year, with Haba placing an argument for being the best of the bunch.

Haba was a first-team All-Southland defender and was one of the most efficient pass-rushers in not just the FCS this year, but in all of Division I football. He excels off of his first-step quickness, flexibility turning the corner and his red-hot motor. He has some technical flaws, but his sheer ability to get into the backfield could be enticing to NFL teams as a late Day 3 pick or as a priority free agent.