Ryan Poles has certainly left the door open for the Chicago Bears to trade down once again. He has said he wants to secure more picks, he seemingly seems to like multiple prospects that will be available towards the middle of the first round and we certainly know the Bears are more than one player away from being a championship caliber team.
If the Bears trade down from nine, and I mean, really trade down, not just jump down to 11 with Tennessee, but move back at least five or six picks, who might they target?
For this purpose, we are going to assume that all three of the big offensive linemen are off the board (Paris Johnson, Broderick Jones, Peter Skoronski) and I’m going to assume that Jaxon Smith-Njigba is as well. Here are three guys the Bears should look at if they move down to 16 or lower in the draft.
Darnell Wright, Tennessee Tackle
There’s a lot right with Darnell Wright. First of all, he fits the draft profile for Ryan Poles. He’s pretty athletic and has the long arms that Poles loves. He performed quite well at Tennessee last year and if Poles is adamant that Braxton Jones is his left tackle, Wright is a natural right tackle and would almost certainly slide in and start immediately.
Wright did spend some time at left tackle in 2021 but he’s been a starter at Tennessee for multiple years and mostly from the right side. Wright’s tape is a little messy at times, but it made a significant jump in 2022 and you have to wonder if he figured some things out.
Wright is a powerful guy that puts defensive players on their backs (think Teven Jenkins) and seems to be showing improvement in pass protection although he may struggle holding his blocks a bit longer which may be necessary the way Justin Fields plays. Either way, Wright is a guy that could be a definite strong addition to the Bears’ offensive line.
Zay Flowers, Boston College Wide Receiver
Perhaps nobody has risen more on draft boards over the last few months than Zay Flowers. And let me say that I was one of the first people on this bandwagon. I enjoyed taking Flowers regularly in the third or fourth rounds of draft simulations a few months ago, but Flowers has found his way all the way up to the first round in most mocks. Flowers has hands, speed and incredible agility and would be a phenomenal addition to the Bears wide receivers.
Drafting Flowers would slot him as WR4 this year and give him plenty of snaps but not much pressure and an opportunity to develop his rookie year. He would be able to move into the WR2 or WR3 role in 2024 depending on what the Bears do with Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool (almost certainly one of them is gone, probably Claypool). Flowers is an exciting prospect with big play potential. Flowers is small and needs to sharpen his routes but he would be a great selection later in round one.
Joey Porter Jr., Penn State Cornerback
When you ask draft experts about Joey Porter, Jr the first thing they tell you is how they love his length. Poles could grab Porter and know he has potential to have a true lockdown corner on the roster. Porter is sticky in coverage with great hands and the aforementioned length. He has an NFL pedigree (his father was a former All-Pro) and would give Poles some flexibility in the secondary.
With Porter, Kyler Gordon and Jaylon Johnson they could have an excellent trio in 2023 and if Johnson becomes too expensive for the Bears to re-sign, they would have plenty of control on a rookie deal with Porter and Gordon for two more years and could sign a reasonable veteran corner to round out the secondary. If Johnson is affordable, they could keep him and have an excellent group of corners for multiple years to come.