Chicago Bears NFL Draft

Here’s who the Bears select in new 2023 mock draft simulation

NFL mock draft simulators have become a popular resource for analysts and fans in recent years, and the good folks at The Draft Network have one of the best products on the market. They’re currently putting some finishing touches on their soon-to-launch new mock draft simulator, but they teased its artificial intelligence with a 2023 first-round mock draft run exclusively by… the machine.

The intelligence may be artificial, but the mock draft results were fine by Bears fan standards. No, there wasn’t a trade, but Chicago did end up with the best non-quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft: Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr.

“Listen, we all know that the Bears are hoping to be sitting on a winning ticket for a plethora of draft picks,” TDN’s Kyle Crabbs wrote. “But if they are unable to find a partner, drafting one of the two disruptive defensive talents in Will Anderson Jr. or Jalen Carter is the proper play from a value perspective. I’m sure you’ll get back to your regularly scheduled “trade scenario” programming in next week’s NFL mock draft, but the MDM has different plans for you this week, Chicago.”

Anderson remains my top choice for the Chicago Bears if they hold onto the No. 1 pick. Georgia’s Jalen Carter may be the better fit for the team’s need at the three-technique, but the odds GM Ryan Poles will be in a position to draft an impact pass-rusher like Anderson again are very low.

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Will Anderson Jr. ended the 2022 college football season with 10 sacks, a total that seems disappointing after he totaled 17.5 sacks in 2021. That’s how you know a player is special; a double-digit sack season was a letdown.

Anderson isn’t the perfect prospect. His size will be scrutinized over the next few months (is he big enough to be an edge rusher in a 4-3 front?) and he doesn’t always finish tackles when he’s in position to make a stop.

What the Chicago Bears can’t do is let those issues prevent them from drafting Anderson, who has pass-rushing upside similar to the NFL’s best right now.

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