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2024 Bears mock draft: 7-round extravaganza

WCG’s lead draft analyst has been grinding the tape for the 2024 NFL Draft in 10 months.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOV 12 Alabama at Ole Miss Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We interrupt your normally scheduled “only 300 more days until Bears training camp” content to bring you some content for the 2024 NFL Draft, which is even further away!

This is the boring point of the NFL offseason, and it can leave football fans wondering how to fill the void when there’s so little going on. Some use it to preview the upcoming season, and while I and my fellow Windy City Gridiron contributors will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead, I am a sick person.

I use this time to prepare for next year’s NFL Draft. It gives me a headstart and allow me to get ahead of the game when everybody is cramming in film January through April (seriously, content creators; there isn’t anything important enough to dive into at this point of the offseason that should stop you from saving yourself hundreds of hours of work later in the year). The film study this early is more for helping out towards future draft content, but if I can help provide some draft information to kill time in June, then why not?

The Bears have two first-round picks in 2024, so there’s plenty to be excited about in next year’s draft. Let’s take a look at my latest 7-round mock draft for their 2024 NFL Draft class.

Draft order used from NFL Mock Draft Database, which is based off of Super Bowl odds.

Round 1 (via Carolina): Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Turner first got on my radar tallying 8.5 sacks as a true freshman for Alabama in 2021. Since then, he’s more than shown off his impressive physical attributes on tape. He has long arms and appears to be in very good shape; he could very likely pack on more weight to his 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame without sacrificing speed. That’s a good thing, because he has speed in bunches and offers impressive overall athleticism off the edge. He’s flexible turning the corner, he has great range as an open-field tackler, and though a bit raw, he has shown some serious flashes in terms of hand usage.

Arguably the biggest need on the Bears’ roster heading into the 2023 season is defensive end. The 2022 roster had several holes that weren’t all going to be fixed in one offseason, but edge rusher might be the only massive one that remains a glaring issue. Adding a top talent like Turner would instantly invigorate Chicago’s pass rush.

Round 1: Maason Smith, DL, LSU

With a healthy 2023 season, Smith could end up being the first defender to come off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft. He tore his ACL in the season opener last year and finished a standout 2021 campaign with a season-ending leg injury, but his tape is arguably the best of any defensive lineman in the class. He has great length, grip strength, first-step acceleration, hand activity and gap awareness as a 5-technique but projects best as a 3-technique at the next level.

I get the sense the Bears aren’t finished adding talent at defensive tackle, and adding a potential superstar in the 6-foot-6, 310-pound Smith could form a deadly young rotation with Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens.

Round 2: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

If he improves as a route-running technician in 2023, there’s no reason to think Nabers can’t be a first-round pick in the 2024 draft. He has good size at 6-foot-1 and 188 pounds, and he’s an inside-outside versatile talent with great hands, impressive deep speed and good agility after the catch. Assuming the Bears can’t keep both of Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool next offseason, a player like Nabers — who had 72 catches for 1,017 yards and 3 touchdowns last year — would be a welcomed addition to Chicago’s offense.

Round 3: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

As Bears fans found out the hard way last year (and will probably see again this year), there’s no such thing as too much pass rush. Latu wins more with power and technique as opposed to Turner’s explosiveness. The UCLA star has a history of neck issues, but he came back healthy to the tune of 10.5 sacks last year. He has a deep arsenal of hand techniques and has a thickly-built frame that allows him to both set the edge and push the pocket.

Round 4: Christian Haynes, C/OG, UConn

Haynes excelled at right guard for UConn last year and could’ve been drafted this year, but he returned to school for another year and will be switching over to center this season. The first Husky to earn All-American recognition since 2010, he is a quality athlete with nice burst off the line of scrimmage, as well as good hand placement, nice play strength and a mean streak at the point of attack. If he improves his pad level and discipline, he could be a long-term starter in the NFL.

Round 4 (via Philadelphia): Brevyn Spann-Ford, TE, Minnesota

For those of you Bears fans who pushed for Darnell Washington this year, I suggest checking out Spann-Ford for next year. He’s a massive tight end at 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds with great length, power and effort as a run blocker. For someone as big as he is, he’s a nice straight-line athlete. Nobody’s going to confuse him for a George Kittle YAC machine or a Travis Kelce separator, but he’s a monster ‘Y’ tight end with a bright NFL future.

Round 5: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Mitchell was a third-team All-American in 2022 after tallying 5 interceptions and 19 pass deflections with an allowed completion percentage of just 34.8%. He’s an intelligent off-man corner with long arms, good ball skills and the ability to process route concepts quite well. He’s flying a bit under the radar now, but in a few months, I wouldn’t be shocked if more people talk about him as the first Group of 5 prospect off the board.

Round 6: Fotis Kokosioulis, WR, Fordham

Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy recently confirmed on Twitter that Kokosioulis, an incoming super senior, returned to Fordham. The Maine South alumnus was a consensus FCS All-American in 2022 after catching 103 passes for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s dynamic after the catch with good ball-carrier vision and agility, and he’s a crisp route runner out of the slot who also has return value. Though smaller and older as a wide receiver prospect, he definitely deserves NFL looks.