ESPN published a new 2023 NFL Mock draft Thursday and it continued a disturbing theme for Chicago Bears fans. According to the mock draft, the Bears will be one of the two worst teams in the NFL in 2022; they pick second overall. NFL Draft analyst Jordan Reid explained that the first-round order was based off of ESPN’s Football Power Index.
Perhaps, a horrific season that leads to the second-overall pick wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Bears. If they’re destined to miss the playoffs, it might as well result in a blue-chip first-rounder. And in Reid’s 2023 mock draft, that’s exactly what Chicago lands in Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter.
“There are some scouts around the league who believe Carter has the most upside in this draft class, and he’s the type of player around whom new GM Ryan Poles could build an entire defensive unit,” Reid wrote. “He had just 3.0 sacks last season, but he was sharing snaps with multiple 2022 first-round picks. Carter consistently lives in the other team’s backfield. A true penetrator as a 3-technique, he’s a wrecking ball with high-level explosiveness, hand power and finishing ability.”
Carter stands an estimated 6-foot-3, 310 pounds and ranks behind only Alabama’s Willie Anderson Jr. as the highest-graded defensive prospect in the country. In fact, a source confirmed Carter is viewed as the No. 2 overall player in the nation by at least one scouting service used by all 32 teams.
Jalen Carter would be a boon for a Chicago Bears defense that places significant value on the three-technique defensive lineman. Carter is a penetrating pass-rusher who also has the kind of lateral movement skills to chase down running backs in the backfield. Simply put, he’s a stud.
His production upside in 2022 is massive. Georgia sent five defensive starters to the NFL in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Carter’s opportunity to stuff the stat sheet following those departures is very real.