After months of anticipation, Draft Day is finally just one day away.
The 2023 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, and after a wild offseason, the Bears will soon have a chance to add significant young talent to their roster. A lot has changed since the end of the regular season, thus making the path to the No. 9 overall pick — or wherever else they might end up picking — an entertaining one.
With the pre-draft process coming to an end, I thought now would be a good time for one last Bears mock draft. For the sake of this exercise, I won’t be trading any of the picks. There’s obviously a strong chance they move around to some extent this year, but the unpredictability of those trades makes it very tough to predict, so I’m just going to be playing it safe.
That said, let’s roll.
Round 1 (via Panthers): Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
A lot will have to happen for Carter to fall to No. 9, but it’s something I wouldn’t rule out. In a scenario which sees Will Anderson, Tyree Wilson, Paris Johnson Jr., at least one cornerback and either three or four quarterbacks — a realistic possibility — Carter could fall to Chicago. They’ve interviewed him plenty, and information indicates he’s still highly in favor there. He has all the tools to develop into the game-breaking 3-technique defensive tackle Matt Eberflus needs.
Round 2 (via Ravens): Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami (FL)
Stevenson is a well-built cornerback with good length and a well-rounded skill set. He’s physical through a receiver’s stems, competes at the catch point and offers good route-recognition abilities. His competitiveness could make him a good fit in an Eberflus system and a potential solid starter right out of the gate.
Round 2 (from Panthers via 49ers): Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn
I’ve made Hall a go-to in a lot of my mocks, and it’s for a reason. He has plenty of length, good raw play strength, impressive athleticism and a high motor. He plays a valuable position that just so happens to be a position of need for the Bears, and he checks a lot of the boxes this regime wants in its pass rushers.
Round 3: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
Freeland compares heavily to Kaleb McGary in my eyes, only he doesn’t have the injury concerns that scared the Bears off from the latter. He’s a tall offensive tackle who moves very well for his size and uses his hands well, and he also has starting experience at both tackle spots.
Round 4: Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan
The Bears don’t have an immediate need at tight end, but Schoonmaker is good value here and projects well in their offense. He’s one of the top blocking tight ends in the class and offers nice fluidity across the middle of the field, making him a nice developmental prospect with starting upside.
Round 4 (via Eagles): Juice Scruggs, C, Penn State
The lack of an early-round center solidifies Cody Whitehair’s status on the Bears’ roster in 2023, but they get another solid prospect who could grow into a starting role down the line. Scruggs is a refined blocker who uses his hands well, keeps his pads low and offers good spatial awareness.
Round 5: Andrei Iosivas, WR, Princeton
Length. Size. Speed. Ball skills. These are the tools Iosivas brings to the table, and that’s part of why I’ve made it my brand here to project him to the Bears this year. If I say anything more, I’ll be accused of being unoriginal and recycling content.
Round 5 (from Ravens via Patriots): Evan Hull, RB, Northwestern
Hull is a well-built runner who has good hands out of the backfield and ideal ball-carrier vision in between the tackles. He’s a bit tight in the hips but is a tough runner with some nice sudden quickness who could contribute on passing downs.
Round 7: Jake Witt, OT, Northern Michigan
Witt is incredibly raw but offers freakish athleticism for the offensive tackle position, and the physical upside he brings is much better than what you’ll see with most late-round or undrafted targets. He’s worth taking a shot on to ensure he doesn’t hit the undrafted free agent market.
Round 7 (compensatory pick): Jose Ramirez, EDGE, Eastern Michigan
Though undersized, Ramirez is an explosive edge rusher with a quick first step, ideal weight distribution and tremendous production at the collegiate level. In his last two seasons at Eastern Michigan, he tallied 18.5 sacks and 30.5 tackles for a loss.