First, let me make something clear: I love the Chicago Bears’ 2023 draft class.
However, some potential difference makers were left on the board at spots where I think they would have had tremendous value. And, yes, there were a few picks I think Bears General Manager Ryan Poles could’ve done differently.
For starters, Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz represented fantastic value in the second round. The Chicago Bears appear to have a need at center on the roster, but Poles doesn’t think so. After the draft, he said he believes Chicago is in good shape at center with Cody Whitehair and Lucas Patrick.
Regardless, adding JMS still would’ve made sense. He’s a pro-ready starter who the New York Giants selected one pick after the Bears chose CB Tyrique Stevenson. John Michael Schmitz was a Bears-fan favorite throughout the 2023 NFL Draft season, and as Mel Kiper Jr. said during the NFL Draft broadcast, he has immediate Pro Bowl potential. Seeing the team pass on him late in Round 2 hurt a little.
In fact, I would have added more offensive linemen on Days 2 and 3 of the draft. Shepherd’s Joey Fisher is a guy who I think can develop nicely into reliable depth. Andrew Vorhees, despite likely missing the entire 2023 season with an ACL tear, should become one of the league’s top guards once healthy. I would have taken him with a late pick and stashed him for 2024 and beyond.
Army edge rusher Andre Carter II deserved consideration once he fell into the seventh round. He began the 2023 draft process with some first-round grades. He has incredible athleticism and high character marks. Carter seemed like a no-brainer to me as a guy who could be coached into a difference-maker.
Poles opted not to take a single pass rusher in this draft. That was puzzling, given the Bears’ last-place finish in 2022 for sacks. I understand value has to align, and the board never falls exactly how you’d like it to. Still, I think there were players with upside available on Day 3 that would have been more valuable to the Chicago Bears than another defensive back.
All that said, I loved the Chicago Bears 2023 draft class. I even like some of the undrafted free agents that have been signed, especially quarterback Tyson Bagent (avid Bears Talkers know I was pumped for that one).
Every team ends the NFL Draft with missed opportunities. The Chicago Bears are no different, even after a successful draft haul.