2023 NFL mock draft roundup: Bears field several trades for No. 2 pick

The Chicago Bears’ 2022 season is winding down, and they’re gearing up for what’s set to be an important 2023 offseason.

Chicago is expected to land a top-two draft pick, where they’ll have a chance to land a top defensive talent or even trade back with a QB-needy team and acquire more draft capital.

Heading into Week 18, the Bears currently have the No. 2 overall pick, and regardless of the outcome on Sunday, they can drop no lower than No. 4. Chicago has a chance to land the first overall selection with a loss to the Minnesota Vikings and a Houston Texans win over the Indianapolis Colts.

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We’ve rounded up the latest 2023 NFL mock drafts ahead of Week 18, where the Bears stay put at No. 2 and select one of two generational talents along the defensive line.

ESPN: DT Jalen Carter (Georgia)

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ESPN’s Jordan Reid has the Bears addressing their need at the three-technique position with Georgia’s Jalen Carter with the second overall pick.

The Bears are still in the early stages of their roster reconstruction and lack marquee talent on both sides of the ball. General manager Ryan Poles should take the best prospect available. And since Chicago ranks last in the league in sacks (20) — and their leader in sacks is safety Jaquan Brisker (four) — improving along the defensive front should be at the top of this team’s priorities list this offseason.

Carter would give the Bears a rock solid 3-technique tackle up the middle. Remember that last offseason, Poles’ first big signing was adding tackle Larry Ogunjobi, whose deal was rescinded because of a failed physical. There’s still a large hole in the middle of the defense.


CBS Sports: DT Jalen Carter (Georgia)

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CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards thinks Chicago will stay put at No. 2, despite interest from other teams, and select Carter to fill a hole along the defensive line.

Chicago is going to be fielding phone calls as quarterback-needy teams explore how much it would cost to move up and select either Kentucky’s Will Levis or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. For another week, I’ll steer clear of trade scenarios and give the Bears one of the three defensive stars.

Draft Network: EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)

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The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs has the Bears trading back one spot with the Seahawks to land at No. 3 overall, where they select Alabama’s Will Anderson. In exchange, Chicago receives Seattle’s No. 3 pick and their 2023 third- and fourth-round picks, as well as a 2024 third-rounder.


If the parameters of the trade feel familiar, they should. I Xeroxed the Trubisky details and dropped them into Chicago’s future queue. Want more? Want to divebomb to the bottom of the top 10 or potentially further for a treasure trove? No hard feelings, I get it. Maybe that decision has ruined this NFL mock draft for you—in that case, there ARE hard feelings. Chicago secures ammo to move and shake up the board as they please with this deal and still manages to lock down a player many have long considered to be a shoo-in for the No. 1 overall selection—who just so happens to fill a position of need.

Draft Wire: EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)

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Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling has the Bears addressing their 32nd-ranked pass rush, which is missing the likes of Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, with selecting Anderson at No. 2.

Obviously, the Bears’ prime objective in the offseason needs to be building around Justin Fields on offense, but that can be done in many different ways. In this scenario, their best bet is to take perhaps the best overall prospect in the entire draft, replacing what they lost in Robert Quinn.

Touchdown Wire: WR Quentin Johnston (TCU)

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Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar has Chicago trading back from the No. 2 pick with the Colts, who trade up for Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. The Bears acquire the No. 5 pick (along with additional capital) to select TCU receiver Quentin Johnston.


Bears Wire: DT Jalen Carter (Georgia)

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Bears Wire‘s Nate Atkins has Chicago remaining firm at No. 2 and selecting Carter, who could be the 3-tech that makes Matt Eberflus’ defense go.

If the engine for the Bears defense is three-technique, then Carter is the perfect pick at No. 2. Very few teams in the NFL can generate pressure and disrupt the pocket from the inside, making players like Chris Jones, Aaron Donald, and Fletcher Cox, highly valuable.

By drafting Carter, the Bears would get a defensive tackle with elite run-stopping and pass-rushing ability from the inside. With a player like Carter, defensive ends, Domonique Robinson and Al-Quadin Muhammad will get to the quarterback easier as offenses focus on the star rookie on the interior.


Sports Illustrated: EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)

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Sports Illustrated has the Bears addressing edge rusher with Anderson at No. 2.

He is one of the most twitchy and fastest pass-rushers that we’ve seen come off the edge in quite some time. His ability to convert speed to power, along with his bend and athleticism, enables him to use an array of moves to get to the quarterback.

Fansided: WR Quentin Johnston (TCU)

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Fansided is another site that has the Bears trading back from that No. 2 pick. This time, they’re trading with the Panthers, who move up to select quarterback C.J. Stroud. In this scenario, Chicago receives Carolina’s No. 9 and No. 39 picks in 2023 along with a 2024 first-round selection. With the ninth pick in this draft, the Bears select TCU wideout Quentin Johnston.


After the trade, the Chicago Bears will have the capital to completely reshape the offense for Fields, and it starts with a WR1. Quentin Johnston is a big play threat waiting to happen. His straight line speed is impressive for a 6’4″, 212 pound player. He attacks the catch point and has elite leaping ability, and can thrive post-catch with great twitch and awareness. Separation and body catches will be the concerns, but Fields will love a player like this.

CBS Sports: EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)

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CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso thinks Chicago needs to address their struggling pass rush with the selection of Anderson at second overall.


Anderson would be the ideal pick for the Bears at No. 2 overall. He’s an elite edge rusher prospect, and the Bears only have 13 sacks entering Week 17.

Pro Football Network: EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)

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Pro Football Network‘s Kent Platte admits the Bears could field some calls for a potential trade, but in this mock draft they remain put at No. 2, where they land Anderson.

While I think another team trading up for a quarterback is a possibility, and one Bears fans probably long for after the Mitchell Trubisky damage has passed, I think the draft ultimately starts with the next pick, with Will Anderson Jr. likely headed to Chicago to start his career.

This addresses a huge need for the Bears and brings in one of the few blue-chip players of this draft to build their defense around. As of right now, Anderson sits with 34.5 sacks and 58.5 tackles for a loss in his college career, with 10 and 17, respectively, coming this season.

He’s an absolute riot to watch on the field and is more difficult to defend than any defender in this class. Anderson’s athletic talents are mouth-watering, and if they weren’t, then his technique would be equally so.


NBC Sports Chicago: DT Jalen Carter (Georgia)

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NBC Sports Chicago‘s Glynn Morgan has the Bears selecting Carter at No. 2 to serve as a disruptive three-technique in Eberflus’ defense.

Carter is the type of generational athlete that could transform an entire organization’s forturnes, and Chicago desperately needs an upgrade of talent on its lackluster roster. Chances are the front office will trade down to acquire more draft capital and subsequently more prospects. However, if Chicago keeps the second pick, Carter’s ability to create disruption and cause chaos could be the catalyst needed to jump start the Bears’ defense.

Yardbarker: DT Jalen Carter (Georgia)

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Yardbarker also has the Bears focusing on the interior of the defensive line landing Carter with that No. 2 pick.

With Justin Fields establishing himself this season, Chicago can fill their other many areas of need. Carter has a chance to be an elite interior pass rusher at the next level and recorded three sacks and 29 tackles in 11 games for the Bulldogs during the regular season.

The San Diego Union-Tribune: EDGE Will Anderson Jr.

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The San Diego Union-Tribune believes Chicago will stay at No. 2 and land Anderson, who will provide an upgrade off the edge and as a run stopper.

The questions around Justin Fields have subsided. There are shades of Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas and future Hall of Famer Von Miller in his pass-rush approach, but Anderson is equally adept at defending the run. I’d have no qualms with him going first overall. GM Ryan Poles wouldn’t hesitate to take the explosive pass rusher after trading away Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn this year.

Fantasy Pros: EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)

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Fantasy Pros believes the Bears will use that No. 2 pick for either Anderson or Carter, considered the top defensive prospects. But in this mock, Chicago goes with Anderson.

Chicago’s defensive front could use a major injection of new talent, so either Anderson or Jalen Carter would make sense here.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire