The Chicago Bears have been at the forefront of all NFL Draft discussions this offseason. Namely, because of their ability to draft the consensus best quarterback available in this class, Caleb Williams of the University of Southern California. Wide-ranging opinions continue to surface on what the Bears should do with the number one overall pick. Last year, the Bears opted to trade out of number one with the Carolina Panthers, a move that put Chicago in the driver’s seat again this offseason.
However, the Bears own pick at ninth overall doesn’t seem to be the center of attention, at least in comparison to the first overall selection. Many argue about what to do with the top selection, but not much discussion is focused on number nine. A reminder, the Bears traded back to ninth overall last offseason and then again to tenth overall.
It shouldn’t be a foregone conclusion when it comes to Bears general manager Ryan Poles and draft capital.
Potential Draft Moves At Nine For Chicago
Selecting A Wide Receiver
Several mock drafts (don’t hold much stock, truthfully) have the Bears choosing a wide receiver to aid D.J. Moore and whoever starts under center in 2024. It’s difficult to project who might be available, as the draft board more often than not goes by the wayside of what everyone expects it to look like come draft night. Presumably, Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. is gone before the board hits five. The Bears would then have to hope one of LSU’s Malik Nabers or Washington’s Rome Odunze is still available at the ninth pick. That is dependent on how the Bears view this receiver class, however. Ryan Poles in his tenure has stuck by his “best player available” approach, in relation to their draft board. It will be interesting to see how Chicago views receiver prospects past the consensus top three.
It doesn’t seem likely the Bears would stay put if all three of those receivers aren’t available, if wide receiver truly is their target in the 1st round.
If Malik Nabers doesn’t run in the 4.3s 40-T, I’ll Venmo a random person 20 dollars that likes this. pic.twitter.com/cLTzJag8Pv
— Snoog’s Dynasty Society (@FFSnoog) February 7, 2024
Trading Down For A Wide Receiver
As previously mentioned, Ryan Poles will stick to his draft board. Headed into this draft, holes on the roster seem a bit more clear than they have in the past. Wide receiver depth is among those issues, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Poles look to drop down a few spots and still target a receiver. Teams like Minnesota, Denver, and the Jets could be prime trade-up candidates as nine is a great spot to get one of the top offensive linemen or edge rushers in this draft class. In fact, the Bears are seemingly in a great spot to trade back within the Top 20, as most teams picking after Chicago don’t view receivers as high of a priority heading into this draft. With little to no draft capital after the ninth pick, the Bears could look to trade back while also bolstering their offense.
Names like Brian Thomas Jr., Keon Coleman, and Adonai Mitchell seem like targets in the middle of the first, if the Bears opt to trade back that far.
Texas WR Adonai Mitchell is a long, smooth receiver with elite movement and ball tracking skills, a scouting report:
✅ Fluid movement
✅ Route running IQ
✅ Ball tracking
✅ Release against off coverage
✅ Route running nuance
✅ Broad route tree capacity
❓ Consistency when… pic.twitter.com/46p3Aa9t4R
— NFL Draft Files (@NFL_DF) February 6, 2024
Selecting An Edge Rusher
The narrative around edge rushers in this draft class is “top-heavy” and it’s unknown if Chicago will look to address edge rusher in free agency. That being said, if the Bears want an edge rusher in this draft, it seems in their best interest to stay put. The aforementioned Minnesota and Denver lurk behind Chicago in the draft order, both of whom will likely look to improve their pass rush. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus number one edge in this draft.
A player like UCLA’s Laiatu Latu shows promise, but his medical history is the primary concern for teams. Dallas Turner of Alabama is exceptionally quick, but reportedly teams would like to see his strength and power improve. The main point is that there is no surefire edge prospect in this draft class. The Bears front office will do their due diligence, of course.
Selecting An Offensive Lineman
This is one of the most interesting paths for Chicago in this draft. Many view left tackle Braxton Jones as a hidden gem that has exceeded expectations for that of a former fifth-round pick. The question is whether or not he is a franchise left tackle. This draft class contains Joe Alt of Notre Dame, Olumuyiwa Fashanu from Penn State, and Taliese Fuaga. All of these prospects can be plug and play for the Bears and provide true offensive line depth, a strength Chicago has not possessed in a long time. The age-old adage is that teams win in the trenches. When Braxton Jones is your swing tackle, you can feel pretty good about protection.
Again, teams behind the Bears such as the New York Jets who are likely opting to strengthen their own offensive line would jump at the opportunity to draft at least one of the top three prospects. Teams like the Giants and Titans at picks six and seven, respectively, may select tackles back-to-back, so Chicago has to tread carefully if they decide they want one of these tackles.
Trading back may place them out of range of the top tackle prospects in this draft. The Bears offseason remains in uncharted territory, with speculation hovering over our heads regarding just about everything related to Chicago. Interestingly enough, the Bears ninth overall selection has seemingly flown under the radar.
Main Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network-USA TODAY NETWORK