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2024 Bears mock draft: California dreamin’

WCG’s lead draft analyst goes for his most optimistic mock draft yet.

UCLA v USC Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Bears’ playoff hopes have essentially been dashed following their loss to the Browns on Sunday, meaning many will turn their attention towards the 2024 NFL Draft.

Because I’m unwell enough to have been scouting this class since April, I humbly welcome those of you turning to draft coverage for the first time. For all my fellow sickos out there, welcome back!

The Bears have many tough decisions to make this offseason, but a massive looming decision is what they’ll do at the quarterback position, and if they’ll keep Justin Fields as their starter. I’ve already broken down the pros and cons of staying with Fields, and so while my next mock draft will involve sticking with him and building around him, this one will look into what a draft could look like if they traded him.

I’m going with a pie-in-the-sky scenario for the Bears in Round 1, just to explore this possibility and see how the draft could play out if this took place. That said, here’s my latest 2024 Bears 7-round mock draft.

Trade

Bears receive: 2024 second-round pick (No. 44), 2025 conditional fourth-round pick that becomes third-rounder if Justin Fields plays over 60% of offensive snaps in 2024

Falcons receive: QB Justin Fields

Round 1 (via Panthers): Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Drake Maye has closed the QB1 gap a little bit, but Williams is still a dynamic playmaker with a lightning-quick release, an elite arm, high-end athleticism and tremendous touch at all points of the field. I’m at a total of 10 games I’ve scouted of Williams — with a handful of casual live watches and more formal breakdowns to follow — and I still find ways to be amazed. He’s not the generational, flawless prospect some in the media made him out to be heading into the year, but he’s still damn good.

Round 1: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Both of them? Look, I don’t think the Bears will actually end up with both Williams and Harrison in real life. That’s a dream haul, and besides, I expect Chicago to win at least another game that would knock their own pick down from No. 5 a little bit.

That said, I’m exploring fun hypotheticals this early in the mock draft stage, so if you don’t like it? Too bad! The first two picks are likely to be quarterbacks (Williams and Maye, specifically), and the Cardinals are slated to pick third with the Commanders in fourth. Say a team gives up a haul to move up to No. 3 to jump Washington for a quarterback like Jayden Daniels. Then, Washington settles for a blue-chip offensive tackle they need in Olu Fashanu, therefore leaving MHJ available at No. 5. Hey, it’s not impossible!

I’ve long lauded Harrison’s abilities and believe he could be a Pro Bowl-caliber wide receiver right out of the gate in the NFL.

Round 2 (via Falcons, projected trade): Calen Bullock, S, USC

The Bears use their second-round pick acquired from the hypothetical Justin Fields trade on a rangy replacement for Eddie Jackson.

Bullock has 9 interceptions in his three seasons for the Trojans, breaking out with 5 interceptions and a pick-6 in 2022. He’s a lanky safety at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds with a tremendous catch radius, and his ball-tracking abilities are very good. Despite adding 10 pounds to his frame in 2023, he still showcased the same fluidity in two-high shells and the explosiveness out of his breaks he had the year before. Bullock has a high motor against the run and has shown flashes of being able to process very quickly in coverage. He won’t wow you in the box and can’t deconstruct blocks very well, but you’re drafting him as a free safety. He’d be a very good complement to Jaquan Brisker in the Bears’ secondary.

Round 3: Jackson Powers-Johnson, OG/C, Oregon

I have the Bears addressing the center position in free agency this offseason, so this selection is essentially the ultimate insurance option along their interior offensive line.

Powers-Johnson won the Rimington Trophy as the best center in college football in 2023. That’s even more impressive when you consider this season was his first as a full-time starter. His versatility helped him see plenty of playing time in 2022, though as he took snaps at every offensive line position but left tackle last year. He has a dense frame with very good raw power in his hands, and he complements that power with very good mobility and ideal burst off the snap. JPJ might be a backup in this scenario to start 2024, but his ability to play just about anywhere and his breakout campaign for Oregon this year would likely see him somewhere in the starting lineup sooner rather than later.

Round 4: Darius Robinson, DL/EDGE, Missouri

Versatility is a helpful trait to have in today’s NFL, and Robinson has that in spades.

The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder can line up essentially all over the defensive line, having taken plenty of reps off the edge for Mizzou but also having the capability to rush as a 3-technique defensive tackle. His explosiveness for his size really stands out, and he has a high motor that’s apparent in how he churns his legs at the point of attack and maintains ideal hand activity. Though he’s still a bit raw, Robinson has improved significantly during his time in college and could end up being a valuable subpackage defender early on in the NFL.

Round 4 (via Eagles): Jasheen Davis, EDGE, Wake Forest

This scenario would see the Bears address the edge rusher position in free agency, so I better not see any “edge rusher is too low” comments on here. You’ve had your warning.

Davis was quite productive during his collegiate career, tallying 20 sacks and 39.5 tackles for a loss in the 36 games he played for the Demon Deacons. He’s quite the refined pass-rusher, utilizing moves like cross-chops, swims, rips and bull rushes to get into opposing backfields. He rushes with a high motor and has long arms to help him keep blockers away from his frame. His average athleticism hurts his draft stock a bit, but he’s a quality edge defender who could outdo his draft positioning (think shades of Carl Lawson coming out of Auburn).

Round 5: Tory Taylor, P, Iowa

As of this writing, Trenton Gill trends near the bottom of the NFL in yards per punt and punts pinned inside the 20-yard line, and he’s dead last in net yards per punt. It doesn’t seem like a major need, but the Bears could afford to upgrade at punter.

Taylor is my top-ranked punter in the 2024 draft class. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Aussie has tremendous raw power in his frame, and that shows in how he punts. He had the most punts inside the 20-yard line with 38 in 2022, as well as the most in 2023 with 30. The ball generates impressive distance and hang-time underneath Taylor’s boot, and he’s done a good job of improving his downfield touch over the course of his collegiate career. He has versatility in a rugby-style approach and in pro-style mechanics, and while he’s an older prospect, he’s an upgrade at punter with Pro Bowl potential — an honor no Bears punter has held since 1970.