Who might be available for the Chicago Bears at No. 9? A mini mock draft before next week’s NFL combine.

One of the biggest pieces in the pre-draft evaluation process begins Monday when the NFL scouting combine cranks up in Indianapolis.

Players will go through medical testing that is critical to how prospects are stacked — and in some cases removed — on draft boards. Teams will get a brief glimpse into what makes the players tick in short interviews, a first-time experience for those who did not participate in postseason all-star games.

Pro days, private workouts, top-30 visits and internal draft meetings will follow as the process escalates toward the three-day draft, which begins April 25 in Detroit.

It’s premature to say how things will fall for general manager Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears, but they find themselves in an advantageous position with the first and ninth picks in a draft that has strength and depth at quarterback, wide receiver and offensive tackle — at least two of which are primary needs.

Assuming the Bears choose a quarterback at No. 1 — and that should be considered the chalk play at this juncture — Poles could go in a multitude of ways with his next pick. He could target a wide receiver at No. 9. He could seek a plug-and-play offensive tackle. He potentially could have his choice of the first defensive player to come off the board, with needs at edge rusher and along the front. He could consider a trade down to add draft capital.

In the first three scenarios, the more quarterbacks that come off the board in the first eight picks, the more options Poles would have at No. 9.

For the Bears to get maximum trade value for the ninth pick — if that’s something they want to explore — it would be beneficial if one of the top four or two of the top five quarterbacks remained available. The Minnesota Vikings (No. 11), Denver Broncos (No. 12), Las Vegas Raiders (No. 13), New Orleans Saints (No. 14), Seattle Seahawks (No. 16) and Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 20) all potentially need a quarterback.

Kirk Cousins likely will fill the need in free agency for one of those teams or perhaps the Atlanta Falcons (No. 8). Baker Mayfield is in play if he doesn’t re-sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Broncos figure to release Russell Wilson, who could land with one of those teams. But more than one of them could be eyeing a move up to draft a quarterback.

Understanding that teams are awaiting medical information and have a lot more digging to do on all of the prospects, here’s an initial mock draft through the first 10 selections. There are no proposed trades in this mock, as it’s hard enough to play the guessing game in selecting players.

1. Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

The Bears’ evaluation process had to begin with Williams, who has been the presumptive No. 1 pick since last year’s draft. Poles and his staff likely got a good start learning about him when they interviewed former Trojans analyst Kliff Kingsbury for the offensive coordinator role.

2. Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Sometimes new regimes want to take their time before drafting a quarterback so they can fortify the roster around the position. Former Bears GM Ryan Pace did that in his first two seasons, sticking with Jay Cutler. But new Commanders GM Adam Peters and coach Dan Quinn are in a prime spot and don’t know where they’ll be selecting in 2025 or what that QB class will look like.

3. New England Patriots: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

It’s beyond clear that Mac Jones isn’t the answer in New England, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the first three picks were quarterbacks. That has happened only three times since the NFL-AFL merger: 1971, 1999 and 2021. But the Patriots have needs virtually everywhere and can grab a playmaker for years to come in Harrison.

4. Arizona Cardinals: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Like the Patriots, the Cardinals could be in a prime spot to trade down. If they’re going to give it a go with quarterback Kyler Murray, now back from a torn ACL, they need to get him more help. That means a wide receiver or more protection. We’ll go with Nabers, who might have as much upside as Harrison.

5. Los Angeles Chargers: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Jim Harbaugh built up his teams at Michigan in the trenches, and he landed a prime coaching gig back in the NFL with quarterback Justin Herbert. Harbaugh knows he needs to protect Herbert to succeed. This might be a question only of which offensive lineman the Chargers covet most.

6. New York Giants: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

The Giants got themselves in a pickle when they signed Daniel Jones to a four-year, $160 million extension last March. The quickest way to correct that error is to admit it and move on. McCarthy’s college statistics don’t match those of the other top prospects, but scouts rave about his makeup.

7. Tennessee Titans: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

The only chance the Titans have of developing quarterback Will Levis, a second-round pick last year, is to allow him to play without being clobbered. They have to be in the market for an offensive lineman. But would they consider a slight trade down with a QB-needy team? There’s a good crop of tackles in this draft, even if some project to the right side.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

GM Terry Fontenot talked about the team’s quarterback search last week and said, “We’re going to attack it and make sure we get it right.” It sounded an awful lot like Jerry Angelo in 2009, when he said the Bears were “fixated” on the position a few months before trading for Cutler. A lot of dots have been connected from Atlanta to Cousins and from Atlanta to Georgia native Justin Fields. But the Falcons might be in a spot to draft their future at the position.

9. Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

If four quarterbacks come off the board in the first eight picks, chances are decent only two receivers will have had their names called. That would put Poles in position to draft one, perhaps the physical and explosive Odunze, who is coming off a 1,640-yard season with 13 touchdowns for the Huskies. Pairing an elite rookie with DJ Moore, plus tight end Cole Kmet, would give the Bears a bevy of weapons for Williams.

10. New York Jets: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

Aaron Rodgers was injured on the fourth snap of last season. The Jets plan to run it back with the former Green Bay Packers star, so they need to invest in more protection up front.