Call it a hunch, but I think the 2023 NFL mock drafts published after the NFL combine concludes won’t have the Chicago Bears picking No. 1 overall. General manager Ryan Poles confirmed he’s leaning toward trading out of the top selection when he met with the media in Indianapolis, and with several teams picking in the top five needing a quarterback, a trade-down is likely.
For now, though, several mock drafts still have the Bears picking first. One of them was published this week by NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks, who has Chicago taking Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter.
“This game-wrecking interior defender is the perfect building block for Matt Eberflus’ revamped defense,” Brooks wrote.
To be fair, Brooks’ mock draft was published before an arrest warrant was issued for Jalen Carter in conjunction with a January motor vehicle incident that led to the death of a Georgia teammate and staffer.
Carter is innocent until proven guilty, but the court of public opinion is already questioning whether this off-field incident will cause him to slide down the first round.
It’s impossible to speculate what could happen to Carter’s draft stock if this matter isn’t cleared up before the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off. If charges are still pending, you can bet on the Chicago Bears passing on Carter with the first pick. Instead, Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. will move to the top of their draft board and be the most likely candidate for the No. 1 selection if the Bears don’t trade out.