Bears address holes along defensive, offensive lines in new 3-round mock draft

The Bears have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft, where the expectation is general manager Ryan Poles will trade back with a quarterback-needy team in order to acquire additional compensation.

Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling released a new three-round mock draft, where he has the Bears making a trade back from the first overall pick with the Colts and filling some big holes at positions of need.

While there are a number of needs to address, the biggest no doubt along the defensive line — at tackle and edge rusher — as well as offensive line and wide receiver, which are addressed in this mock.

When all is said and done, the Bears make four picks in the first three rounds. Here’s a look:

Round 1, Pick 4 (from IND): DT Jalen Carter, Georgia

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In this mock draft, the Bears find a trade partner in the Colts. Chicago moves back three spots while landing what Easterling projects to be Picks 4 and 35 this year, as well as an additional first-rounder in 2024.

With the fourth overall selection, the Bears still manage to land Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, who many believe is the best prospect in this draft class — and someone Chicago might’ve been content to take first overall.

Here’s what The Draft Network had to say about Carter:

Carter has been called the best defensive player on that historic 2021 Georgia defense. His motor runs hot on both run and passing plays. Carter does not lack effort. He is seen chasing the ball to the far sideline and upfield as a backside defender. In the run game, despite not having the frame of a traditional nose tackle, Carter holds up well at the point of attack reduced inside. He plays the 0,1, 3, and 5-techniques. I love his body control to handle double teams and corkscrew/twist through blocks to impact the ball carrier. I noticed improvement with his lower body to anchor and hold his ground to clog running lanes. His power can be overwhelming for opponents. He can stonewall zone-reach blocks to sit and occupy that lane. Carter cuts off those block attempts and leverages gaps well for a young player. He shuts the door/designed gap in the face of running backs. He’s a difficult task to move consistently in the run game.

The Bears need a disruptive three-technique to power Matt Eberflus’ defense, and Carter would certainly fit the bill. He’s someone who’s shown to be a dominant run stuffer with a penchant to getting after the quarterback from the interior.

Round 2, Pick 35 (from IND): OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State

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With the additional second-rounder the Bears landed in their trade with the Colts, Chicago selects Ohio State offensive tackle Dawand Jones at 35th overall.

Duncan, who played exclusively at right tackle with the Buckeyes, would fill a huge need along the offensive line. He would give Justin Fields, who was sacked a league-high 55 times, some added protection up front.

Here’s what The Draft Network had to say about Jones:

Jones is an absolute mauler in the run game. He’s a massive and powerful blocker that blasts open running lanes and he can be overwhelming for opponents in college. Jones engulfs opponents as a run blocker and puts them on skates. He has ideal block temperament, aggression, and tenacity. Jones has exceptional length and he uses it effectively in pass protection where he does well to protect his edges and elongate rush lanes. Jones has the type of power in his hands where he frequently stuns opponents and his hands are not easily displaced. His grip strength is outstanding. Despite not having the most nimble feet, Jones is a patient pass blocker that competes to stay square and is deliberate about working his punch to keep rushers at bay.

There are no starting jobs guaranteed along the offensive line, and the future of Braxton Jones is certainly a storyline to watch. Jones, a former fifth-round pick, had a solid rookie season at left tackle. While he wasn’t without his struggles, he showed that he could be part of this offensive line moving forward. But there is a gaping hole at right tackle, which Dawand Jones could fill. We could be in for a Jones pairing on the outside.

Round 2, Pick 53 (from BAL): EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State

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While the Bears traded their second-round pick to the Steelers for Chase Claypool, they landed a second-rounder from the Ravens in exchange for Roquan Smith.

With the 53rd overall pick, Chicago lands some help for their struggling pass rush with Kansas State edge rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who’s an effective pass rusher with a high ceiling.

Here’s what The Draft Network had to say about Anudike-Uzomah:

Anudike-Uzomah profiles as a player with an explosive first step, plus-level functional strength, and good lateral agility—all of which support his ability to be a productive edge rusher. Anudike-Uzomah aligned in multiple alignments along the defensive front, but his best position appears to be when he is aligned on the outside shoulder of the tackle. From this alignment, Anudike-Uzomah has free access to run the arc around offensive tackles, win the edge, and get to the quarterback.

The Bears have just two starting defensive ends on the roster in Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson right now, and edge rusher is a huge need. Chicago sacked the quarterback 20 times in 17 games last season, which was the worst in the NFL. The hope is Anudike-Uzomah would help jumpstart that pass rush.

Round 3, Pick 64: WR Cedric Tillman, Tennessee

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After addressing the defensive and offensive lines, Easterling has the Bears going out and adding another playmaker for Fields.

With the 64th overall pick, Chicago lands Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman, who’s a physical, big-bodied receiver with impressive ball skills.

Here’s what The Draft Network had to say about Tillman:

Tillman is a big-bodied receiver that eats up significant turf with his stride length. He does well bending his route stems to set up breaks and stack corners. Tillman features exceptional body control and does an outstanding job of establishing leverage at the catch point. While he isn’t only a contested-catch guy, Tillman is unfazed when challenged at the catch point. He features outstanding ball skills and spatial awareness. His hands are strong and confident. Tillman has no issues plucking the football away from his frame with extension and hanging on through contact. He excels down the field with his blend of size, ball skills, hands, and speed. Tillman is physical and competitive with the ball in his hands and he showcases good field vision.

Where things currently stand, Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool headline Chicago’s receivers group. There aren’t any true No. 1 receivers in free agency, but adding someone like Tillman would no doubt help Fields.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire