We know the Chicago Bears' roster needs more talent. It certainly will help that Ryan Poles has set the draft up with four selections in the top 64, but even with that, he won't be able to fix everything at once.
There are positions of strength on this roster now, like the overall secondary and the linebackers, but there are plenty that needs some focus from Poles, not just in the draft but afterward in free agency and, most likely, in 2024 as well.
Here are the weakest position groups on the current Chicago Bears' roster.
Alright, first up is the cornerback position. This may surprise some people, but it needs help. Yes, Jaylon Johnson is a very good corner, and we saw flashes with Kyler Gordon, but the bottom line is that Kindle Vildor should be a backup and not starting on an NFL roster. Jaylon Johnson is in the last year of his contract, and we have yet to hear how close they may be on an extension and while Gordon showed flashes, he certainly isn't a lock at this point to develop into an above-average cornerback.
With nickel being the new base, teams need 3 starting caliber corners, and right now the Bears are sitting at 1.5, potentially 2, depending on your views on Gordon. The Bears could use another veteran corner to play outside so Gordon can focus on nickel, but if they don't sign a corner, drafting one before Saturday of the NFL Draft will be important.
4. Interior Defensive Line
This position just screams mediocrity and has no future building blocks. The way the interior defensive line is currently constructed, the Bears have nothing but stopgap guys. Justin Jones is on his last year. Andrew Billings is on a one-year deal. Billings is a nice 1T, but Jones isn't a guy that can be relied on to be the type of 3T that Matt Eberflus needs. Demarcus Walker will find himself working inside on passing downs as well, but there just isn't enough here. If Ryan Poles doesn't land a big DT in the draft, this is going to be a focus next offseason.
The good news about this issue is that it's easily correctable. Right now, the centers on this roster are Lucas Patrick, Doug Kramer and Cody Whitehair. I've never been a strong believer in Kramer as an NFL player. I think he'll settle in as the Bears' practice squad center for the next couple of years. Lucas Patrick has the flexibility to play all three positions but based on last season, none of them well. He should be the team's backup center, and Whitehair's best days are behind him.
This draft has a lot of strong centers that will be available in the 2nd and 3rd, and potentially 4th rounds. The Bears could take a Joe Tippmann or Luke Wypler or wait until round four for someone like Juice Scruggs. Any of them could potentially start this year in Chicago.
2. Offensive Tackle
Braxton Jones certainly had a better rookie season than anyone expected, but he still has work to do to be considered a plus starter. He's off to a great start, and there's no reason for Ryan Poles to give up on him. Poles should plan on him starting as one of the two tackles, but the issue beyond that is who starts at the other? Larry Borom should not be relied on to be a starter, and after missing out on Mike McGlinchy, the Bears have not signed a legitimate veteran tackle. I've also seen enough of Alex Leatherwood on the outside.
Signing someone like Cam Fleming would help this group but certainly wouldn't fortify it. The Bears could draft a tackle in round two, but there are no guarantees that player will be ready to start in year one. At this point, the only way to really improve this position substantially this year would be to take a tackle at the ninth pick.
Some may disagree with this take after a couple of signings at defensive end, but I just don't see enough talent with this group. Demarcus Walker will play out here some, and he had a nice 2022 season, but he will also bounce inside. Rasheem Green was also a nice value signing, but neither of them are going to put pressure on the quarterback regularly from the outside. Trevis Gipson is in the last year of his contract, and I don't expect him to return next year. Dominique Robinson flashed a really good game in week one in 2023 but never showed the same type of productivity the rest of the season.
This is going to be the toughest group to upgrade at this point. With the Green and Walker signings, you have to figure that Poles is done here in free agency, but perhaps he could throw some money towards Yannick Ngakoue, but he isn't without flaws either. The Bears might have an edge worth taking in round one, but odds are they'll focus on getting a pass rusher with one of their day two picks. Regardless of whatever they do, they probably won't make too much of an impact on the 2023 team.
Now would you rank Chicago's need positions heading into the draft?