Many questions remain unanswered, but the Bears take a step forward with the 2023 draft


If you’re a fan of the Chicago bears, the NFL draft has been synonymous with disappointment for years, whether it be Kevin White or Mitchell Tribusky. While their drafting incompetence may not be Cleveland Browns level-bad, they haven’t won a Super Bowl in 38 years for a reason. So, new GM Ryan Poles had quite a mess to clean up after.

With one of the best moves of the offseason, Poles traded the Bears number one pick for future draft capital as well as star receiver DJ Moore while only falling down to the ninth overall pick in the 2023 draft. With the ninth pick, the Bears were in perfect position to draft Defensive Tackle Jalen Carter, whose stock had fallen due to a reckless driving crash that led to the death of a fellow Georgia teammate and staffer.

Leading up to the draft, it was a toss-up on whether the Bears would trade down further or stay firmly with their ninth pick and potentially take the top-prospect, so when the Bears made the trade it wasn’t the move itself that surprised me, but how little they got in return. The Bears traded their pick to the Super-Bowl hungover Philadelphia Eagles in return for the tenth pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick. The Eagles picked Jalen Carter.

While it is not a disastrous move, it is certainly a head scratcher. When it comes to the NFL, fourth-round picks can blossom into all-time greats, but it’s hard to apply this wishful thinking here. The Bears more or less swapped their pick for nothing. While Jalen Carter’s value fell with his off-the-field behavior, he was still a top talent. The Bears who would eventually pick a DT in the second round anyway, could have either used Carter for themselves or leveraged their position to draft him more effectively for either more draft capital or players even if it meant trading down to a later first round pick. While they patched up some of their Offensive Line issues with their pick of  excellent right tackle Darnell Wright from Tennessee, it doesn’t feel like the Bears maximize their potential with their first round pick. Nonetheless, it is a very solid and safe pick and a net gain for a team with a terrible O-Line.

Throughout the next few rounds the Bears picked up more defensive pieces, some of which are stronger prospects than others. In the second round the Bears drafted Florida Defensive Tackle Gervon Dexter, who put up a lukewarm 4.5 sacks in two seasons. Nonetheless at 6’6” 310 LBs, he is a welcomed addition to their defensive force. The Bears also made two cornerback picks with Miami’s Tyrique Stevenson in the second round and Minnesota’s Terrell Smith in the fifth round, both of which performed well in college. On the offensive front, in the fourth round the Bears would pick up Texas Runningback Roschon Robinson and Cincinnati Wide Receiver Tyler Scott. While the Bears addressed both of these positions in the months prior with the signing of former Panthers RB D’Onta Foreman and the trade for former Panthers WR DJ Moore, depth does not hurt in these positions for a rebuilding bears.

The Bears’ only bonafide miss is the draft pick of Oregon Linebacker Noah Sewell. While he amassed a combined 170 tackles over two years for the Oregon Ducks with his impressive pass rushing ability, the Bears did not need another linebacker. Over free agency the Bears invested in established linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards. For a team that is scrambling to patch up so many weak spots, it is baffling that they would choose to draft one of the most secure aspects of their defense currently.

Overall, while the Bears could have played their hand better, they walk away a better team. Many questions remain unanswered regarding their full ceiling and how long it’ll take to reach it but, undeniably, GM Poles makes a step in the right direction with a series of needed picks. Hopefully, this is the start of a new era for a long suffering franchise.