With the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine being played a few weeks ago, it is the perfect time to give my first Chicago Bears 2023 Mock Draft. This mock will consist of seven rounds, trades, and insight into why certain picks were made.
*Bears trade pick one to the Colts for picks 4, 35, 79, 2024 first, and 2024 second*
4. Will Anderson Jr EDGE Alabama 6’4” 245
Reasoning: Will Anderson is a can’t-miss pass rusher who will have an immediate impact on this Bears’ defense the moment he steps on the field in Chicago. Anderson possesses a lot of great characteristics including his high IQ, pass-rushing skills, strength, speed, and block shedding. Anderson didn’t put up insane sack numbers at Alabama in 2022 but he lived in the backfield with 59 QB pressures.
35. Cody Mauch OL North Dakota State 6’6” 302
Reasoning: When it comes to Cody Mauch he is a guy that jumped up draft boards and could even land himself in the first round with a good performance at the Senior Bowl much like Trevor Penning in 2022. Mauch is one of those nasty and fierce linemen that you hear coaches rave about. Mauch, who is listed as a tackle by PFF, has the ability to get kicked inside and play guard opposite Cody Whitehair.
*Bears trade pick 54 to the Chiefs for picks 62 and 100*
62. Jalin Hyatt WR Tennessee 6’0” 184
Reasoning: It is no secret that the Bears have a lot of holes with a major one being the wide receiver position. Hyatt would come in and join Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool as the Bears’ top receivers. A core that’s already loaded with speed would get even more with Hyatt’s ability to take the top off of a defense.
64. Keeanu Benton DT Wisconsin 6’4” 315
Reasoning: After a couple of picks on offense it’s time to jump back to defense and continue to address the front seven. Benton may not have as big of an impact right away like Will Anderson but he will give the Bears some more depth at an important position.
79. Luke Wypler C Ohio State 6’3” 300
Reasoning: We head back to offense here by taking a center at 79. If the Bears really want to show people that they are buying into Justin Fields they have to invest in the offensive line. Wypler is one of the top centers coming into this class alongside Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz.
*Bears trade pick 100 to the Saints for picks 115, 188, and 2024 sixth (via Phi)*
103. Andrei Iosivas WR Princeton 6’3” 200
Reasoning: Iosivas is a player who will fly up draft boards in the coming weeks. His blistering speed and his lack of dropping passes will stick out to teams between both the Senior Bowl and the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
115. Cade Stover TE Ohio State 6’4” 255
Reasoning: Cole Kmet has been a serviceable tight end for the Bears and had a really solid 2022 campaign but you always need that second guy. Stover has the ability to make huge plays but also is a very solid blocker.
137. Henry To’o To’o LB Alabama 6’2” 228
Reasoning: The emergence of UDFA Jack Sanborn was really nice to see after Ryan Poles and the Bears traded disgruntled ILB Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens. To’o To’o would be a very nice complement to Sanborn and would also boost a very weak LB position.
*Bears trade 150 to the Bengals for picks 165 and 248*
165. Darrell Luter Jr DB South Alabama 6’0” 190
Reasoning: While DB isn’t necessarily a hole in the defense it doesn’t hurt to add depth to it. Luter would be a nice fit alongside Jaylon Johnson and Kyler Gordon. Luter would most likely be competing with Kindle Vildor for more reps but would be a solid addition to this defense.
178. Travis Dye RB USC 5’10” 200
Reasoning: With the uncertainty of David Montgomery’s future with the Bears it is safe to say running back may be a position of need. Dye really started to stick out to me when I was watching film on USC WR Jordan Addison. Dye’s ability to find open holes and change direction on a dime is impressive and a major reason why I think he would be a good fit with the Bears.
188. Ali Gaye EDGE LSU 6’6” 265
Reasoning: Gaye wasn’t the most technically sound pass rusher but has those athletic traits that everyone wants from a pass rusher and can easily get coached up to being a solid role player.
199. Justin Shorter WR Florida 6’4” 223
Reasoning: Shorter was the number one ranked wide receiver in the class of 2018 but hasn’t lived up to the hype. Shorter has the ceiling to be a WR4 or maybe even a WR3 so there is some upside to taking him at 199th overall.
220. Jake Moody K Michigan 6’1” 210
Reasoning: With Bears kicker Cairo Santos being a little shaky in 2022 it doesn’t hurt to bring in competition via the draft. Moody was 29/35 on field goals with a long of 59 yards. Having a guy that can consistently nail kicks from 50+ yards is huge when it comes to field position.
248. Dorian Thompson-Robinson QB UCLA 6’1” 205
Reasoning: Obviously QB isn’t a need for the Bears but having a backup with the same play style as Justin Fields helps tremendously by keeping the offense in rhythm. Look at a team like the Baltimore Ravens who were able to keep the offense in sync while Lamar Jackson was out with a knee injury.
To recap the draft the Bears turned their current eight 2023 picks into 14 picks in the 2023 NFL draft while also adding 3 picks (Colts first and second along with the Eagles sixth) in 2024. This class would fill a lot of needs the Bears currently have while also adding more competition at other positions like the entire offensive line, cornerback, and kicker.