The Chicago Bears will address several of their needs in free agency next month, but the roster is so devoid of talent that there isn't a position in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft that they'd stay away from.
The Bears need several starters and better depth along the 53-man roster, so in my first mock draft, I'm sticking to a strict best player available policy. I also executed one trade down, as I feel there is no way the Bears stand pat with the first overall pick. In this scenario I ran through at Pro Football Focus, I sent the top pick to the Colts for the fourth overall pick, their second rounder in the 2023 draft, and their first and third in 2024. I probably could have kept playing around with the deal to get more picks, but for the purpose of this exercise, I wanted to get drafting.
A few other teams were also interested in simulated trades, but I wanted to get the party started and learn about some prospects the Bears could be interested in. And that's my exact goal in running through these mock draft simulations; learning more about these college players.
In this BPA mock, I picked the next player up on the board at each selection, with my only exceptions coming if there was an apparent scheme mismatch. In those instances, I moved to the next player on the board and made the selection.
Here's how this BPA theme mock draft board fell for the Bears.
1st round, pick 4: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Carter and Alabama's Will Anderson Jr. are the consensus top two defensive players in the draft, so the Bears coming away with one of them is likely if they don't trade down too far. Carter (6'3", 310 pounds) is a game wrecker that can play either defensive tackle spot for the Bears.
2nd round, pick 35: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
Double dipping at defensive tackle reminds me of the Tommie Harris-Tank Johnson draft from the Bears back in 2004. Smith (6'3", 337) would be a fine rotational DT as a rookie and could grow into a starting role.
2nd round, pick 54: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
Boutte (6', 205) is a speedy and athletic playmaker that some scouts believe needs some refinement to his techniqueDue to a couple of ankle surgeries, medicalsls at the NFL Combine will have a lot to say about where Boutte lands in the draes.
3rd round, pick 64: Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin
Tippmann (6'5", 315) has the potential to compete for a starting job as a rookie, and he's the exact type of interior o-line prospect the Bears need to go after in the mid-rounds.
4th round, pick 103: Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati
Pace lined up all over the Cincinnati defense, but his size (6', 235) probably keeps him as a 4-3 off-ball linebacker, and the Bears need depth in their linebacking corps, and Pace could provide that.
4th round, pick 134: Andrew Vorhees, G, USC
As a redshirt senior, Vorhees (6'6", 325) has plenty of starting experience, including nine games as a true freshman in 2017. His pass pro needs some work according to many scouts, but he's a high-floor type of player.
5th round, pick 137: D.J. Turner, CB, Michigan
Teams always need corner depth, and the Bears will likely get one on day three. Turner (6', 180), a two-year starter, was named 2nd-Team All-Big 10 in 2022.
5th round, pick 150: Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Iowa State
During his three years in college, the 6'3", 205-pounder racked up 254 catches, 2,929 yards, and 15 touchdowns. He doesn't have elite speed, but he plays to his size.
7th round, pick 220: Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion
The Bears don't really have anything behind Cole Kmet, so adding a 6'8", 251-pound prospect seems like a fun idea. He's a good athlete, but he'll need to work on his blocking at the next level. Getting a handle on his pad level when in-line is something he can work on if he has the willingness to mix it up.
What are your thoughts on this BPA theme mock?
There were certainly more trades that were there to make, but would you like it if the real draft fell this way?