The Chicago Bears are two NFL Sundays away from finishing the 2022 season with the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They’ll need to lose both games and end the year at 3-14, which is a brutally bad season but one that will gift GM Ryan Poles with the best non-quarterback prospect in the 2023 draft class.
Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. and Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter are at the top of Bears fans’ wish lists, and for good reason. Both prospects would fill massive holes in Chicago’s defense. Anderson is an elite pass rusher, and the Bears are last in the NFL in sacks this year. Carter is one of the most talented interior defensive linemen to enter the league since Aaron Donald. He’d fill the three-technique role that is the most important in coach Matt Eberflus’ defense.
If Chicago does end up with the second overall pick, Poles will be in a dream position for NFL general managers. He can’t mess up. Whether he chooses Anderson or Carter, both picks will be viewed as ‘the right one.’ There’s no doubt he’d receive unanimous high marks on post-draft report cards.
The 2023 NFL Draft gets trickier from there. The Bears don’t have their second-round pick (they traded it to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Chase Claypool). Instead, their second pick comes later in Round 2; they hold the Baltimore Ravens’ selection because of the Roquan Smith swap.
The good folks at Pro Football Network conducted a full 2023 NFL mock draft this week, and the first few picks were noteworthy. If Poles ends up with a draft class like this, it’d be fair to say he’ll hit a home run.