Signs seem to be pointing towards the Bears drafting an offensive tackle early in the 2023 NFL Draft.
With four selections in the top 65 — including the No. 9 pick in the draft — Chicago has plenty of capital at its disposal to use on a premier position, which just so happens to be one of their biggest needs. Braxton Jones seems to have locked down one offensive tackle position, but the other spot — presumably right tackle, barring a position switch for Jones — is wide open.
Paris Johnson Jr. from Ohio State and Broderick Jones from Georgia have become two very popular targets for the Bears in recent weeks. Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski may kick inside to guard in the NFL, but a strong argument could be made he’s the best offensive lineman in this year’s class. Darnell Wright from Tennessee and Anton Harrison also stand out as possible trade-down options, too.
However, there’s no such thing as too much depth in the NFL, especially along the offensive line. Even if the Bears take an offensive tackle early in the 2023 draft, they would still be smart to take a flier on a prospect in the later rounds.
Should Chicago choose to take that route, here are some Day 3 offensive tackle prospects they’d be wise to consider in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Wanya Morris, Oklahoma
If there’s any offensive tackle on this list I expect to sneak into Day 2, Morris would be that guy. He’s a lengthy offensive lineman with top-notch physical attributes, making it no surprise he was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. Not only does he pack a mean punch at the point of attack to complement his natural length, but he’s also quite mobile in pass protection. Pad level, weight distribution and flexibility are issues in his game, but Morris has a high ceiling as a potential developmental starter.
Carter Warren, Pittsburgh
A five-year starter offensive tackle, Warren has the physical attributes needed to excel at the next level. He’s a powerful blocker at the point of attack with a strong anchor in pass protection. He’s an above-average athlete on tape with good lateral quickness and nice burst off the line of scrimmage. Warren’s arms are also over 35 inches long, giving him tremendous length for the offensive tackle position. He’s raw as a processor and struggles with pad level, but he’s a worthy developmental prospect to consider in Rounds 4 or 5.
Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion
Whether you project Saldiveri inside or outside at the NFL level, he still projects as one of the top Group of 5 prospects in the 2023 draft. A big-bodied blocker with precise hand usage, good spatial awareness in pass protection and good overall power in his game, he’s a well-rounded player who does a lot of the little things right. His athleticism also arguably surpassed expectations at the Combine, turning a few heads. He struggles with weight distribution but could outperform his eventual draft stock quite quickly in the pros.
Earl Bostick Jr., Kansas
I’ve seen Bostick projected as both a tackle and a guard, and he’d honestly project well in either role. He accelerates well off the line of scrimmage and excels as a reach blocker, and he’s reportedly a high-character prospect who has consistently been on Academic All-Big 12 teams during his time in college. His recognition can be a bit delayed at times, and he’s a bit light in the pants, but he’d make a lot of sense in Rounds 6 or 7.
Trevor Reid, Louisville
I’ve long been a fan of Reid as a developmental, late Day 3, swing tackle prospect, and his 34 1/2-inch arms solidified that feeling for me. His pad level and strike placement are raw, as is his awareness in pass protection. However, he’s a freak athlete with good footwork on the move, nice acceleration climbing to the second level and nice power proportioned evenly throughout his frame.
Jake Witt, Northern Michigan
An out-of-nowhere riser up draft boards, Witt has been the talk of the deep ranges of Draft Twitter after a stellar Pro Day which saw him finished with a 9.80 RAS at offensive tackle. He’s a tremendous athlete with a tight end background who moves quite well in pass protection, and his range as a wide-zone blocker is remarkable. He’s still filling into his 6-foot-7 frame and is incredibly raw as a technician, but the tools are intriguing enough to warrant a late-round flier.
Jacky Chen, Pace
If this name sounds familiar, it’s probably because I’ve covered Chen in a previous mock draft. Not because his name sounds like another famous person or anything. Here’s what I said about him in that mock:
Chen got invited to the Shrine Bowl and measured with nearly 34-inch arms. He’s a nimble pass protector who generates good bend in his lower half and looks coordinated as a wide-zone run blocker. Though a tad raw as a processor and technique, he’s exactly the toolsy prospect you take in Round 7 to avoid getting in a bidding war over in undrafted free agency.