The 2023 NFL Draft season is upon us. It’s still very early in draft season, but it’s here. And with it comes a superstorm of mock drafts.
The first-round order for the 2023 NFL Draft is still unsettled, but we’re only two weeks away from the picks crystalizing. The Houston Texans currently hold the first overall pick, with the Chicago Bears inching closer at No. 2 overall. There’s an outside chance the Bears could lose their way into the top selection, but it seems unlikely.
If Chicago upsets the Detroit Lions or Minnesota Vikings in the next two games, they could slide out of the top five picks. That, too, seems unlikely. The safest bet is the Bears holding firm with the No. 2 overall, so it’s worth considering what mock drafters think Chicago will do with that selection.
According to NFL Mock Draft Database, which takes the average of 36 Bears mock drafts, the overwhelming pick for Chicago is Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr.
Sixty-two percent of those mock drafts have the Bears taking Anderson over Georgia’s Jalen Carter, who gets sent to the Bears in 24.2% of mocks. Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. is third at 5.3%.
The debate over Anderson and Carter will dominate Bears talk for months. The value of a pass rusher like Anderson would seem to trump Carter’s role as an interior defender, but the three-tech is the most important role in coach Matt Eberflus’ defense. As a result, Carter gets pushed up Bears-specific big boards.
It’s a no-lose situation for the Chicago Bears if they end up with the second pick. Whether it’s Anderson or Carter, both players profile as long-term foundational defenders who would instantly become the most talented defensive player on the roster.