NFL mock draft: Bears trade down, still land Will Anderson

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Bears mock draft: Poles trades down, still lands Anderson originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bears finally made it to the bye week, but while many teams use the rest to prepare for a second half playoff push there will be no postseason run in Chicago. So let’s use this time to look ahead to next year’s draft. The Bears have plenty of roster holes to fill, and they can go a variety of ways with their picks to make an instant impact for the franchise. So this is one of three iterations of a mini mock draft. There will be different players in each mock draft, not only to show the many ways things can go next year, but also to discuss more guys who could be headed to Halas Hall next season. In this version, the Bears trade the No. 2 pick to acquire more draft capital. In addition, they have the No. 57 and No. 66 picks since that is where the Bears are currently slated to pick, per Tankathon. Obviously that will change as the final month of the season plays out, but whatever, we’re doing this now. Also, these mini mocks will be limited to the first three rounds. Want more mock draft content? You can check out our first version here, and the second here.

TRADE!

Ryan Poles gets a call from Seattle asking about the No. 2 pick in the draft. The agreed upon price, the No. 4 and No. 16 picks in this year’s draft, plus a 2024 third-rounder and fifth-rounder. According to PFF’s Mock Draft simulator, this deal had a 58% chance of going through, and in this instance fake John Schneider and fake Poles went for it.

NO. 4: WILL ANDERSON - EDGE - ALABAMA

Surprise, surprise. The assumption was that the Seahawks wanted to trade up to select their QB of the future, but they picked disruptive defensive tackle Jalen Carter instead. That left C.J. Stroud for the Lions at No. 3, and Anderson, who the Bears may have taken with the No. 2 overall pick, was still on the board at No. 4. Mock drafts are crazy, and if this happens in real life the Bears will be extremely, extremely happy. The Bears pass rush from the front four has been nonexistent for most of the year, and Anderson will bring a boost immediately as he leaves Alabama with 34.5 sacks, the second most in school history. Anderson is stout against the run, too, and led the nation with 31 TFLs last season. He ranks 10th with 17 TFLs this year.

NO. 16: QUENTIN JOHNSTON - WIDE RECEIVER - TCU

Two wide receivers went off the board just before the Bears’ second pick in the first round, but it doesn't matter, they still got their guy. Johnston is a talent who could develop into a true WR1 for Justin Fields with a typical “X” receiver frame and skill set. At 6’4”, 215 pounds Johnston is another big body for Fields to target, who has real breakaway speed and knows how to use his size to win contested catches on 50/50 balls. Johnston also has demonstrated he can beat both press man coverage with his agile releases at the line, or zone coverage with his ability to find soft spots in the defense. It’s what Johnston does after the catch that makes him a special athlete, however. He’s extremely elusive in open space for his size and forced 17 missed tackles on 53 catches this season, per PFF. The only knock on Johnston is his high drop rate. Per PFF, Johnston dropped eight balls this year.

NO. 57: JAYLON JONES - CORNERBACK - TEXAS A&M

Things are about to get confusing at Halas Hall, because the Bears now have two players named Jaylon Jones at cornerback. This Jaylon Jones developed into a true shutdown corner this year, and only allowed 10 receptions this season per PFF.  Jones didn’t notch an interception this year, in large part because he was only targeted 19 times total, but he’s shown good ball skills earlier in his college career. Jones has three interceptions and one fumble recovery to his name over three seasons at A&M. He also plays with a physicality and intensity that Bears coaches will love. The move also allows Kyler Gordon to focus primarily on slot corner, as Jones can take over as the starting outside corner, opposite Jaylon Johnson.

NO. 66: ADETOMIWA ADEBAWORE - DEFENSIVE LINE - NORTHWESTERN

The Bears further bolster their defensive line with an intriguing prospect. Both Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles value versatility in their players, and they get that in Adebawore, who played both defensive end and defensive tackle for the Wildcats over his college career. That mix will allow the Bears to use Adebawore in different packages, regardless of whether they want to stop the run or pressure the QB. Adebawore has also shown the ability to beat offensive linemen with a variety of techniques like bull rushes, swim moves or pure speed coming off the edge. He’s not a flash in the pan player, either. Adebawore has produced consistently over his Northwestern career with six sacks, 31 pressures and nine TFLS in 2022; five sacks, 30 pressures and 8.5 TFLs in 2021; and two sacks, 17 pressures and six TFLs in the shortened 2020 season.

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