NFL draft: Our sleeper picks from the Bears’ 2023 rookie class
The Chicago Bears welcomed 10 new rookies to the roster during the 2023 NFL draft, which included top selection, offensive tackle Darnell Wright.
General manager Ryan Poles focused primarily on defense, which makes sense given the number of holes. In all, Chicago added three defensive tackles, two cornerbacks, one offensive tackle, one running back, one wide receiver, one linebacker and one safety.
Poles has garnered praise for a solid draft. While his draft class didn’t feature any sexy picks, it addressed the team’s biggest needs and got great value on the third day of the draft.
Over the next few days, our Bears Wire staff will be sharing their thoughts about the 2023 rookie class. Next up: Our sleeper picks for rookies who could emerge as immediate impact players.
Alyssa Barbieri: RB Roschon Johnson
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The Bears got a steal with Johnson in the fifth round. While he’ll start the year off as the RB3 behind Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman, Johnson has the potential to be a long-term starter in this offense. Johnson has the makings of a three-down back, where he’s also a reliable option in the passing game and solid in pass protection, where Herbert and Foreman lack. Expect to see plenty of Johnson during his rookie season.
Brendan Sugrue: DT Travis Bell
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Day 3 players such as running back Roschon Johnson and Tyler Scott are already garnering plenty of attention when it comes to Bears fans. They’re skill position players who have a chance to flash with big plays. So let’s go into a deeper sleep and focus on one of the players in the trenches with Travis Bell. The first player drafted out of Kennesaw State, Bell caught the eye of Ryan Poles, who called him “one of my favorite human beings.” He also said there was “something different about this guy” and Poles couldn’t afford to not have him.” He totaled 11 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss during his time in college and could be a perfect candidate to buy into head coach Matt Eberflus’ philosophy. I’m intrigued by the selection and while players like Johnson and Scott are expected to show at least a little something this year, Bell is merely regarded as a borderline practice squad player. He’ll show more than that with this team.
Ryan Fedrau: WR Tyler Scott
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Outside of Tyler Scott being a Bears fan, he’s already a fan favorite in Chicago. Despite that background, he was a stud in college and if he went to a bigger school, he wouldn’t have been a Day 3 pick. Scott has junior olympic qualifying speed, and is a threat in the air, with 14 touchdowns over the last two seasons.
Nate Atkins: RB Roschon Johnson
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Johnson has the potential to become RB1 in this offense if he stays healthy. He’s a powerful running back with elite speed. He’s a willing blocker and will excel as a one cut back in the zone scheme.
Jarrett Bailey: S Kendall Williamson
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Williamson will be a good box safety against the run. He’s a willing tackler, and a thumper, as well as doing well enough in coverage to possibly see the field in his rookie year.
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