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2023 Bears mock draft: Updated post-Super Bowl picks

WCG’s Lead Draft Analyst shares his updated 7-round mock draft for the Bears.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a whole month since I’ve published a Bears-centric mock draft at Windy City Gridiron. I’m very sorry to have kept you all starving for so long.

The Super Bowl has come and gone, which solidified the last of the Bears’ selections: the Eagles’ fourth-round pick sent to Chicago in the Robert Quinn trade. Now that the NFL season has drawn its conclusion, it’s time to focus even more on what the offseason has in store.

In this mock draft, I’m going to enter this draft with a general idea of what the Bears will do in free agency. I’m making these picks with the following moves in mind at a minimum:

  • At least one starting edge rusher
  • At least one starting interior defensive lineman
  • At least one starting linebacker
  • At least one starting offensive lineman (I chose center in this case, but I do expect them to look to free agency for another offensive tackle)
  • Some sort of investment at the wide receiver position

That’s a lot of assumptions, but with how much money the Bears will have to spend this free agency, that expectation is far from unrealistic.

I used NFL Mock Draft Database to run a simulation for these picks, and of course, I went for a trade down from the No. 1 overall pick using their trade machine. Enough talk, though; let’s get to mock drafting!


Colts get: 2023 first-round pick (No. 1)

Bears get: 2023 first-round pick (No. 4), 2023 second-round pick (No. 35), 2024 first-round pick, 2024 second-round pick

Round 1 (via Colts): Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

In my last Bears mock draft, I had the Bears making the same trade down to the No. 4 pick and chose Jalen Carter, as Will Anderson went third to the Cardinals. In this simulation, Carter went third, which made my choice easy yet again.

The Anderson-Carter debate has been had plenty of times to this point. Anderson lacks the top-notch size for a 4-3 base edge rusher, but he has everything else to develop into a perennial All-Pro. He’s absurdly athletic, plays with a red-hot motor, he uses his hands very well to string together moves and work off of blocks, he’s very good against the run, and he’s been productive against the best competition in college football. He’s a slam-dunk pick for a Bears defense that could not rush the passer in 2022.

Round 2 (via Colts): Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

When looking at the Bears’ approach to their offensive line, they would be wise to follow the trends of the Chiefs and Eagles, the teams general manager Ryan Poles and assistant GM Ian Cunningham came from, respectively. Both teams invested have heavily in their line over the last few years, and they now have strong units that are both reliable and deep.

Athleticism is the name of the game with Harrison, who has tremendous tape over each of the last two seasons. He offers impressive lateral quickness in pass protection and does a good job of keeping his footwork under control with a wide base. His body control is very good, which allows him to roll his hips through contact to seal off defenders, as well as blocking with ideal balance and coordination at the second level. Harrison’s spatial awareness helps him against stunts and when trying to find work, and he has enough anchor strength to hold his own against power. He has Day 1 starting potential and the ability to thrive in a system that prioritizes quick offensive linemen like Chicago’s.

Round 2 (via Ravens): Keeanu Benton, DL, Wisconsin

The Bears need a total overhaul of the defensive tackle position. Justin Jones is the only player contracted on the active roster heading into the offseason, and he seems like an okay starting option but a strong rotational option. Regardless of his role, there will be multiple moves along the interior this year.

Benton stood out to me at the Senior Bowl, which made me feel vindicated in liking what I saw from him on tape. He’s a powerful defender who projects very well as a 1-technique defensive tackle and offers two-gapping ability if called upon to do so. He has great grip strength which allows him to dominate at the point of attack, he keeps his legs churning to generate penetration in the backfield, and his gap awareness in knowing when to free up his hands to make tackles against the run is superb. For a bigger guy, he also has pretty nice quickness off the snap. He’ll never be an elite pass-rusher, but Benton is a dominant run defender with solid short-area athleticism who could be a quality starter for some time.

Round 3: Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State

If the Eagles’ run to the Super Bowl is any indication, you can never have too many pass-rushers.

Harrison is a tad raw but has absurd athletic upside. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 272 pounds at Ohio State, the fourth-year edge rusher tested as having an unbelievable 4.47 40-yard dash. His first step is fantastic, and his combination of length, size and speed indicate he has fantastic developmental potential at the next level. What he lacks in pad level and anchor strength, he makes up for with consistent effort and a willingness to get into the backfield. In this situation, Harrison could serve as a killer rotational defender as a rookie behind Anderson and a free agent signing while ironing out the wrinkles in his game.

Round 4: Sydney Brown, S, Illinois

A safety this early? Hear me out.

The Bears have so much money to spend in free agency to the point that a decent amount — not all, but several — of their current needs will have been filled come Draft Day. We found a way to combine need with pure value in these previous four picks. Brown to Chicago here is a perfect example of “best-player-available” drafting. You don’t make selections entirely for immediate filling of needs, especially in Year 1. You take player whom you believe could be long-term assets to your organization.

Brown is one of my favorite defensive backs in this class. He’s a five-year starter with a high football IQ who plays with a ton of effort on a regular basis. His intelligence on the back end and in the box help him serve as a reliable coverage defender, and he’s plenty athletic and fluid enough to cover a considerable amount of space. Brown could make a killing on special teams in Year 1 for the Bears, but down the line, he has impact starting potential written all over him. I have him graded in Round 2, so to get him early in Round 4 was great value for me.

Round 4 (via Eagles): Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford

After his strong Senior Bowl, there’s a chance Wilson goes a bit higher than this, but there are plenty of talented wide receivers who have Round 3 value on my board, which could bump some prospects down a bit.

The 6-foot-2, 216-pounder has great size and length for a wide receiver with a large catch radius. Wilson comes from an accomplished athletic family, with an uncle who played college football, a cousin who ran track in college, and an aunt who played soccer for New Zealand in the World Cup. His pedigree shows in how he moves, as he has very good coordination attacking the ball in the air with nice acceleration down the field. His work as a route runner in Mobile really impressed me, as he looked more crisp coming out of his breaks than he did on tape. He has an injury history and never had phenomenal production in Stanford’s offense, but the tools are there for Wilson to become a productive receiver down the line.

Round 5: Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia

If David Montgomery ends up walking in free agency this offseason, the Bears will need to make some sort of investment at the running back position, whether that be in free agency or through the draft.

Here’s an excerpt I wrote on McIntosh back in December. He’s a running back I view as a potential fit for what the Bears need as a complement to Khalil Herbert.

After being an afterthought in loaded Georgia backfields in his first three seasons, Kenny McIntosh took a solid next step in 2022, scoring 10 touchdowns on the ground and rushing for 709 yards on 136 attempts — 5.2 yards per carry. He’s a powerful running back with a bigger frame at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, very good contact balance and a determined style of running in between the tackle. He is also an experienced pass-catcher with nice hands and good route-running ability for his size. Don’t sleep on McIntosh’s agility, either; he’s looked quicker and more elusive in 2022 than he did in years past.

Round 5 (via Patriots from Ravens): Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn

Even if the Bears sign a linebacker in free agency and retain one of their veteran backups from this past year, they’d be wise to invest in some sort of depth in the draft.

Pappoe is a prospect I’ve been high on for quite some time. Though he’s a bit undersized, he has good length for an off-ball linebacker with a large tackling radius that’s maximized by his athletic traits. He changes direction very well in space, as he has loose hips coming in and out of his breaks with very good closing speed in pursuit. His mobility across the middle of the field gives him value in hook zones in coverage, and he also showcases effort stacking and shedding blocks at the line of scrimmage. Though his frame is a bit light and his play strength isn’t fantastic, he offers nice developmental value and immediate special teams value.

Round 7: Colby Sorsdal, OL, William & Mary

There is literally no such thing as too much offensive line depth if you’re the Bears.

Sorsdal was a five-year starter at W&M who graded as PFF’s second-best offensive lineman with an 89.6 grade, trailing only North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch. His acceleration off the snap is very good, and his initial step in his kickslide in pass protection is explosive. He seems to have good functional athleticism, as he redirects pretty well and has good body control blocking on the move. He plays high (in his pads, don’t worry) and can process quicker than he did on tape, but he has good size, athleticism and good grip strength when he lands his strikes accurately. He played right tackle but has guard potential in the pros, as well.