Bears trade down, land stud OT in Peter Schrager’s first 2024 mock draft

The Chicago Bears are gearing up for the 2024 NFL draft, where they will be selecting Caleb Williams. There aren’t many (or any, really) mock drafts having the star USC quarterback going anywhere but Chicago. It feels like a foregone conclusion at this stage of the game.

However, the Bears also have another selection at ninth overall, which is much more intriguing. They could select a multitude of different players at various positions, or they could trade back (or up).

In Peter Schrager’s first 2024 mock draft on, he leads things off with the Bears selecting Williams. That is no shock as mentioned before.

As I’ve reported, the Bears had a great meeting with Caleb at the NFL Scouting Combine, followed by a pair of enjoyable dinners in Los Angeles (before USC’s pro day) and Chicago (before the quarterback’s visit to Halas Hall). The team is all in. And so, from what I’m told, is Williams.

Perhaps more interesting is what Schrager has the Bears doing next. Chicago trades down from No. 9 with the Indianapolis Colts — forgoing the chance to draft LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers and selecting Alabama offensive tackle JC Latham at No. 15.

After piling up more draft capital by trading back, the Bears still land a stud offensive tackle. Latham could be the second OT taken on draft night — some teams like him that much. If the board falls this way, Chicago adds a big, pedigreed bookend who can join last year’s first-round tackle, Darnell Wright, in protecting the new franchise quarterback, Caleb Williams.

Considering some other needs — most notably edge rusher — it’s certainly a surprising selection. But by adding Lathan to an improving offensive line, he might hit the ground running in the NFL. He is expected to be among the first tackles off the board, and the Bears could be that team in theory. With right tackle Darnell Wright showing so much promise in his rookie year, anchoring both tackle positions would go a long way in protecting Williams.

Chicago didn’t do a good job of protecting Justin Fields or anyone that came before him. If they are going to do it right his time, having a good offensive line is one of they keys. If their actual draft looked like Schrager’s mock, it might not be all that bad.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire