The clock has just rolled to midnight here in the Central Time Zone on Opening Draft Day 2023, so I figured this was as good of a time as any to drop my one-and-only annual Denmaster Ken Mock Draft for the Chicago Bears franchise.
As you can see by the graphics, I used PFF’s simulator. I chose to go strait in, no trades, and go off my massive amount of draft knowledge (i.e. I just guessed) and intimate knowledge of each player in this draft (i.e. more guessing).
Spill The Beans!
So who did I come up with, and how did I get there? First let’s look at who I picked and when I took them.
9: Paris Johnson, Jr.
Choices were easy up until they weren’t. As you can see by the following graphic, many of the players I would have had to consider for Chicago at nine were already gone: Will Anderson at three to Arizona (no surprise he was top three), Jalen Carter to (UGH!) Detroit at six, Peter Skoronski at seven so that took him out of the mental debate.
I went into this thinking “Best OT available in the first, then fill holes and depth at several positions of need” including OL, DL, a corner and WR.
Yes, Jaxon Smith-Njigba was right there, but I couldn’t pass on the tackle. I debated Darnell Wright and Broderick Jones but in the end, I went with PJJ.
53: I went edge with Tuli Tuipulotu. This pick is fairly late in the second round, and Tuli should fall somewhere in this area. He’s a big, strong power rusher with adequate bend, but what I like most about him is that he’s coming on strong and improving year-to-year. He’s got the body to be in the league, but a team will need to figure out if he is best on the edge, B gap or wherever.
61: Joe Tippman gets the nod to be our center-of-the-next-decade. This was a bit higher than I was hoping to take him (I was thinking 3:64) but I didn’t want to risk losing him since the gap down to the next center was pretty big. That gives Chicago two potential new starters on the OL in the first two rounds, plus DL help.
64: Wait, what? Clark Phillips III was available in round 3? A ball-hawking position-of-need player who has first-round traits? 2022 Unanimous All-American? Finalist for the 2022 Jim Thorpe Award and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award? 2022 AP Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year? 2022 Pac-12 All-Conference First Team? Sign me up.
103: Isaiah McGuire, Edge. Double dipping with the edge, but after last year who can blame me? I live in Missouri and see a lot of the Tigers, and McGuire is the real deal. This is actually a bargain pick here, I would have thought he would go much higher. He had 35 pressures, 21 QB hurries, 7 QB hits, and 7 sacks in 2022 in the SEC. Excellent athlete, he’s still raw and will need work on his lateral movement, hands and legwork, but hey, this is a fourth rounder who projects as a rotational guy so you can’t have everything.
133: Nick Saldiveri, OT. Saldiveri is somebody I see more as a guard than a tackle, the things he struggles with are all tackle-issues... outside speed rush, getting laterally positioned, etc. For stuff in front of him, he’s a rock-solid pass blocker. This is a backup guard take.
Round Five: My REACH!
Here we have it, my dear readers, we have come to Denmaster Ken’s big reach of the draft. I waited until the fifth round for it, but every draft needs at least one head scratcher so here is mine.
136: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB. Wait, what? A QB is the last thing we need, right? Let me ‘splain. I think that until our quarterback room is three deep with players who can not only all play, but who all have similar styles, we should draft a quarterback every year. A guy like DTR is the perfect type of player to back up Justin Fields and to develop towards being an inexpensive #2 QB. His game is like Justin’s, just not as good (especially on the deep balls). He is, however, an explosive playmaker who could move the ball in the unfortunate instance of Justin being unavailable. All I ask is that you think about it.
148: Braeden Daniels, OT. Here’s another guy I see as a project, but he’s absolutely athletically gifted, he’s got great footwork and hands, and performance wise he took 879 snaps last year at Utah at LT, allowing 10 QB hurries, no QB hits, and no sacks. That’s an attention getter for me.
218: Evan Hull, HB. That’s right, I had to draft one local kid, and Hull fit right in here. I see him as a guy who can develop into a third-down receiving/pass blocking back. That’s about it. A practice squad guy most likely at least for 2023.
258: Jake Bobo, WR. Why? Because I want to say “Bobo” a lot!
So how did I do?
This draft has one huge hole, no 3-tech in sight... the board just didn’t fall that way, so it is what it is. Let me know what you think in the comments.