It’s amazing what one trade can do for an NFL team. Before the Chicago Bears traded the No. 1 pick to the Carolina Panthers for a haul of current and future draft selections and DJ Moore, wide receiver ranked at or near the top of their 2023 NFL Draft needs.
Moore joins Chase Claypool as the top two targets for Justin Fields, and Darnell Mooney remains very much in the mix to be one of Chicago’s primary receivers. A weakness is now almost a strength.
The odds the Bears spend their first selection — No. 9 — on a wideout are long. Sure, Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba could sneak into GM Ryan Poles’ heart just in time to hear his name called, but it’s more likely Chicago will add to its offensive skill positions on Day 2, at the earliest.
The good news for the Bears is that this year’s wide receiver class isn’t nearly as appealing as the last few years. We could see several players pegged as first-round wideouts now fall into the second round because of size limitations, and some second-rounders drop into the third. And if they do, they’ll present great value to Poles at that point in the draft.
Here are four 2023 NFL draft wide receivers that the Chicago Bears should take a long look at in the second and third rounds.
Zay Flowers, Boston College
Flowers is the most likely from this list to be a first-round pick. He reminds me stylistically of former Pittsburgh Steelers star Antonio Brown. But at 5-foot-9 and 182 pounds, he doesn’t profile as the kind of receiver teams invest first-round picks in. If Flowers falls into the second round, I’d expect several teams — including the Bears — to consider trading up for him.
Tyler Scott, Cincinnati
Scott, like Flowers, is an undersized wide receiver at 5-foot-10 and 177 pounds. But, man, is this dude quick. Ten of his 14 touchdowns went for more than 30 yards, and it’s easy to see why after just a few plays of film study. He’s a two-stepper (gets to full speed immediately) and has the kind of after-the-catch ability to be a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. He could give the Chicago Bears the explosive juice they hoped Velus Jones Jr. would provide in 2022.
Nathaniel Dell, Houston
Dell is my favorite receiver on this list. Yeah, he’s tiny. Like, really tiny (5-foot-8, 165 pounds), but he may have the most dangerous open-field traits of any wide receiver in the 2023 draft. He’s uncoverable out of the slot and an impossible tackle one-on-one in space. His size will limit his role in the NFL, but as a fourth wide receiver in the Bears’ offense? He’d be a dynamo.
Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
Hyatt, like Flowers, has received some first-round buzz, but I think he’ll settle in as a Day-2 player. Hyatt is the only 6-footer on this list, but — shocker — he’s only 176 pounds. His straight-line speed is his best trait, and as a downfield big-play specialist, he’d be a nice addition and complement to what the Chicago Bears have in their wide receivers room.