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Mocking the Mocks: Bears bolster the d-line in The Athletic’s latest

Now that all the underclassmen have declared for the 2023 NFL Draft, the mocks are starting to come into focus.

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NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Texas A&M Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Chicago Bears are sitting at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft, no analyst truly believes the Bears will stand pat and pick their top-rated prospect at one. With several quarterback needy teams behind them, Chicago general manager Ryan Poles is sure to trade back. If the latest two-round mock draft from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, the Bears do just that.

He has Chicago moving back with the Colts to number four overall while picking up their 35th overall pick in 2023 and their 2024 first-round pick.

So after he has the Colts taking Alabama QB Bryce Young, the Texans go with Kentucky QB Will Levis, and the Cardinals pluck Alabama edge Will Anderson Jr., he has the Bears mocked like this.

4. Chicago Bears (via Indianapolis): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

For the next few months, Bears fans will be debating between Anderson and Jalen Carter. In this scenario, the decision is made for them. Carter is young, which is evident in several areas of his game, but it is also clear how uniquely talented he is with his combination of body control and power. His block destruction and disruption are special.

For Bears fans screaming that the return in this trade scenario (this pick, No. 35 and a future first) isn’t enough, there would be added value in trading back with the Colts, as opposed to the Raiders (No. 7 overall), Panthers (No. 9 overall) or another team. The opportunity to stay within striking distance of the two “elite” defensive prospects in this draft should give the Colts a hypothetical advantage if the Bears have multiple offers to consider.

And while I like Carter as a prospect, if Levis goes number 2 and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is still on the board, I think the Bears have to entertain trade offers to move back again.

Brugler has Stroud off his board next via a Carolina trade to five with Seattle while giving up 2023 pick number 9, number 93, and a 2024 first-round pick.

Again, I like Carter’s upside, but getting another 2024 first-rounder is too good to pass up.

Next, Brugler has the Bears staying on the defensive line in the second round.

35. Chicago Bears (via Indianapolis): BJ Ojulari, Edge, LSU

The Athletic didn’t give any details on the second-rounders, so I reached out to our Lead Draft Analyst, Jacob Infante, to get his thoughts on the 6’3”, 250-pounder.

“Ojulari is a bit of a projection at this stage, but his athleticism and flexibility cannot be denied,” Jacob tells me. “He’s a high-motored athlete with long arms, and his physical upside would make him worth an investment here.”

Justin Fields gets some help with Brugler’s next mock selection for the Bears.

53. Chicago Bears (via Baltimore): Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee

I again asked Jacob for some insight into Tillman (6’3”, 216), and he said, “He isn’t as much of an upside play as he is a high-floor type of prospect. He isn’t the most dynamic athlete out there, but he’s big, coordinated, physical, and has good hands.”

Would you like it if the real 2023 NFL Draft fell for the Bears like Brigler’s mock did?