We're through with the first wave of veteran free agency, and the Chicago Bears already have nine new players, plus wide receiver D.J. Moore whom they got as part of their big trade down from the Number One pick. With those signings, we now can get an idea of how the Bears will attack the early part of the NFL Draft. Remember, what a club does in free agency directly affects how they will work the Draft.
The Bears have three major needs to still fill, a top 3-tech, an explosive edge pass rusher, and a right tackle. There are still some quality defensive ends on the market, but if they choose to pass, they could easily take those three positions with their first three picks in the Draft.
Picking at number nine, the Bears, in all probability, will have their choice of all the tackles in the Draft, and there are some pretty good ones. I have Georgia's Broderick Jones as my number-one tackle because of his outstanding athleticism and fierce play. He's big (6050 – 311), strong, and has the required long arms (34.25"). '
Right now, second-year man Braxton Jones holds down the left tackle spot. He had an excellent rookie season playing every offensive snap, and his best football is still in front of him. He could stay on the left side, or the Bears could move him over to the right side if they draft a natural left tackle. In the case of Broderick Jones, he's a natural left tackle, but he did practice and play on the right side as a freshman in 2020. If the Bears were to draft Jones, it would be up to the coaches who lines up where.
The second tackle in my rankings but the number one guy by many analysts is Ohio State's Paris Johnson. Johnson is an early entry (like Jones) who has only one year of experience on the left side. As a sophomore in 2021, he started every game at right guard and played very well. So, he can easily line up at right tackle. Johnson is a huge man at 6'6 – 315 with 36" arms. He's also very strong, as he did 29 reps of 225 at the Combine.
At nine, the Bears aren't locked into taking an offensive tackle. They very well could be looking at Georgia 3-tech Jalen Carter. It was just a few weeks ago that Carter was considered a sure top pick, but things have gone downhill for him in recent weeks. First, it was announced he faced two misdemeanor charges for his involvement in a deadly car crash following the celebration of Georgia's National Championship win.
Next, at his Pro Day earlier this week, he had gained nine pounds since the Combine and failed to finish the workout because he is out of shape. Those two incidents have taken him out of the Top Five and may also take him out of the Top 10. There is no denying his talent, but his maturity and his football character have to be questioned.
For that reason, Ryan Poles announced yesterday the Bears would be bringing in Carter on one of their 30 visits sometime in the next three to four weeks. It is imperative that the Bears do all the necessary due diligence on Carter, as they can't afford to make a mistake if they do select him.
Another option the Bears have is to trade down from nine. By doing so, they still may have a shot at Carter, depending on how other clubs feel. They could miss out on the top tackles, but there are others they could easily select later in the first round. That would include Oklahoma's Anton Harrison, who is an athletic and nasty left tackle.
A trade down would bring back an extra pick or picks depending on how far they decide to move. It would also build up their draft capital to use to move up in the second round. It's my opinion that the first half of the second round is a strong point in this Draft. To be able to have two selections in that area would be extremely beneficial to the Bears' Draft plans. In that top half of the second round, there are several players who could help the Bears at either edge, offensive tackle, or defensive tackle.
By trading down, the Bears would not only be looking at Harrison, but they would also be in a position to select Georgia Tech defensive linemen Keion White or Northwestern 3-Tech Adewatime Adeborowa. Keion White played defensive end at Georgia Tech, but for the Bears, he would be a left end or a 3-tech. In fact, he has the exact traits needed to play the 3-Tech in the Bears scheme in that he is big (6'5 – 285), runs in the 4.7s, and is very strong and athletic.
Adeborowa is a freak athlete. I've been doing this for over 40 years, and I have never seen a defensive tackle with his athleticism. He ran 4.49, had a 4.26 short shuttle, and a 7.13 3-cone. Those are unheard-of numbers for a DLinemen. Adeborowa played outside at Northwestern, but he will be much more effective inside as an NFL player. He is a similar size to Warren Sapp, the best 3-Tech ever, and much more athletic.
The Bears have plenty of time to decide as to what they will do. Their final Board won't be set for at least a month when Pro Days, private workouts, and visits are done. They will put all the information together and create a game plan for the Draft. Draft day decisions are, for the most part, made during final meetings leading up to the Draft, not on Draft Day. They will meticulously go over every possible scenario and make a final determination as to what they want to do. It is a very interesting and exhausting final six weeks.