The Chicago Bears are hoping the only way they can go is up. They finished 3-14 in the 2022 season and earned the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for having the worst record in the league. They dealt with the growing pains of a rebuild and were still trying to figure out what they had in quarterback Justin Fields.
The bright spot of having such a bad season is that there is hope on the horizon with a good draft pick. Chicago had some evaluating to do with this class of quarterbacks. They could retain Fields and build for the future elsewhere in the draft or reset the rookie quarterback contract clock and trade away Fields. The Bears seemingly made their decision when they traded No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers for WR DJ Moore and draft picks.
This move gives the Bears three picks in the first three rounds as well as a new top wide receiver. Darnell Mooney is a solid receiver, but in his first season as the lead pass-catcher in the offense, he fell flat. Moore gets a fresh start in Chicago, and the move should also help Mooney and Fields improve. The Bears are going to be cosplaying as the Midwest Panthers, with Moore, D’Onta Foreman, and PJ Walker all departing Carolina and heading to Chicago for the 2023 season.
Significant free agency additions
- Traded No. 1 pick for WR DJ Moore + draft picks
- TE Robert Tonyan
- LB Tremaine Edmunds
- LB T.J. Edwards
- RB D’Onta Foreman
Significant free agency losses
- RB David Montgomery
- QB PJ Walker
- LB Nicholas Morrow
- C Sam Mustipher
- RT Riley Reiff
Bears 7-round mock draft
With the Bears set to be on the clock at No. 9, let’s look at a 7-round mock draft on PFN where trade offers are on the table.
9. DT Jalen Carter, Georgia
53. EDGE Keion White, Georgia Tech
61. CB DJ Turner, Michigan
64. OT Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland
107. OT Carter Warren, Pittsburgh
133. C Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas
136. LB Mohamoud Diabate, Utah
148. WR Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia
187. LB Jalen Graham, Purdue
218. S Gervarrius Owens, Houston
258. DT. Byron Young, Alabama
Once the quarterbacks go in the first round, the early part of the draft will focus on the defense. Ahead of being on the clock at No. 9, four quarterbacks, two EDGE rushers, a corner and an offensive tackle were selected. This left the top defensive tackle, Jalen Carter, who should be a Week 1 starter barring any problems with the off-the-field situation that took him away from the NFL Combine.
Staying on the defensive side of the ball, I took EDGE Keion White out of Georgia Tech. Chicago needs to create more pressure on the quarterback, and White can help them. He should be able to start Week 1 alongside some combo of Trevis Gipson, Carter, Justin Jones and DeMarcus Walker.
I then drafted Turner and Duncan as depth pieces with upside. While they may not be starting Week 1, don’t be surprised if they develop some sort of role with the Bears throughout the season. I followed this up by trading No. 103 to the New England Patriots for No. 107 and No. 187. Yes, this is just adding a late-round pick, but it could become a solid depth piece. With 107, I added to the offensive line with Warren and Stromberg to pair with Duncan.