There isn’t much debate about the Chicago Bears’ top priority in the 2023 NFL Draft. At least, for now. Wide receiver remains the beginning, middle, and end of any discussion centered around the Bears’ 2023 offseason plan. And with how wide receiver contracts have exploded over the last three months, it makes sense to assume general manager Ryan Poles will use the NFL Draft to level up his pass-catchers.
So, get used to it, Bears fans. Every 2023 NFL mock draft from now until free agency will send Chicago one of the projected top wideouts. The names will change; they always do. But the position won’t.
Take the latest 2023 mock draft from the Touchdown Wire’s Mark Schofield, for example. He has the Bears selecting Ohio State wide receiver Jaxson Smith-Njigba at No. 8 overall.
It’s hard to argue with mock drafts that project the Bears to pick a wide receiver. Only Darnell Mooney is a sure thing at this point, and even he has to prove he can be a true WR1 in 2022. Rookie Velus Jones Jr. has exciting upside, and veteran addition Byron Pringle will have the best opportunity of his career to make plays this year. But if Chicago is picking in the top 10, and with how crippling a veteran wide receiver contract can be, adding an elite player like Smith-Njigba is a no-brainer.
Smith-Njigba exploded in 2021 with 95 catches for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s in the mix to be the first wide receiver drafted next April. He’ll compete with LSU’s Kayshon Boutte and USC’s Jordan Addison, all of whom are potential top-10 picks.
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today. His NFL Draft and Bears coverage has also been featured on The Draft Network.