The Chicago Bears’ offensive line is in the news this week with rumors that general manager Ryan Poles is shopping Teven Jenkins, the team’s second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jenkins’ fall from offensive-tackle-of-the-future to devalued trade asset has been remarkable. And it puts the Bears back into the offensive tackle market for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Sure, the Bears added Riley Reiff and have high hopes for rookie fifth-round pick Braxton Jones. There’s a good chance they’ll be Chicago’s starting pair of bookends. But if an opportunity presents itself in the 2023 NFL Draft to land a blue-chip left tackle prospect, Poles won’t waste much time making the pick.
In the latest mock draft from The Draft Network, that’s exactly what happens. The Chicago Bears end up with Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski with the third overall pick.
“Chicago made the decision to draft defensive players with each of their first two picks in 2022.,” TDN’s Kyle Crabbs wrote. “Defensive-minded coach in Year 1? Okay, sure. But now let’s tighten up this offensive line with someone other than Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield. Peter Skoronski plays in the Bears’ backyard, so you know they’ll get plenty of looks at his ability to protect. I don’t love the value but I love the process of helping Fields with a supporting cast.”
Skoronksi is the early leader for OT1 in the 2023 NFL Draft, but he’ll have competition. Ohio State’s Paris Johnson is a top-10 selection in TDN’s mock draft, and Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan cracks the top 25. Players who don’t appear in these early mock drafts will rise draft boards during the season, too. We’re a long way from settled position rankings.
It’s worth noting where the Chicago Bears pick in this mock draft: third overall. Don’t blame Crabbs for that. Instead, it’s where BetOnline’s Super Bowl odds rank the Bears prior to Crabbs putting pen to paper. If Chicago has that bad of a season in 2022, landing a prospect with as high of a floor as Peter Skoronski is a silver lining, even if his ceiling isn’t as exciting as some top offensive tackle prospects from recent NFL draft classes.