Bears target defensive playmaker in this way-too-early 2023 mock draft

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The 2022 NFL draft wrapped last week, but it’s never too early to start thinking about next year’s draft. For the Chicago Bears, they’ll have a first-round selection for the first time during general manager Ryan Poles’ tenure.

This year, Poles focused on a major weakness in the secondary with the selections of cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker with Chicago’s pair of second-round picks. Could the Bears target defense with their top pick again?

In The Athletic‘s way-too-early 2023 mock draft, the Bears find their three-technique of the future in Georgia rising star Jalen Carter with the sixth overall pick.

As evaluators fired up the tape to check out Jordan Davis, Travon Walker and Devonte Wyatt on the Georgia defensive line, how many times do you think this phrase was uttered: “Wait, who is this No. 88?” That would be Carter, who is entering his true junior season and was arguably the best player on the national champion’s defensive front last year.

While Carter didn’t receive a ton of recognition, it was for good reason. He was overshadowed by three members of that Georgia defensive line — Travon Walker, Jordan David and Devonte Wyatt — all of whom were drafted in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. But there are some that believe Carter could be better than all of them.

Chicago lost three starters from the defensive line this offseason — Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman and Bilal Nichols. While the Bears attempted to sign Larry Ogunjobi to serve as the three-technique, he failed a physical that forced Poles to pivot to sign Justin Jones. But looking to the future, Carter would be exactly what Matt Eberflus’ defense needs.

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