The good folks at The Draft Network continue pumping out 2023 NFL mock drafts for Chicago Bears fans to consume. It’s admittedly very early in NFL Draft cycle, and names that appear in first-round mocks are certain to change over the next several months. But for a Bears team that didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, it’s fun to see what kind of player they could land next April.
TDN’s Keith Sanchez is the latest draft analyst to publish a 2023 mock draft. The Bears pick third overall in his mock, which probably won’t sit well with Chicago’s fanbase. Don’t blame him, however. Sanchez used the latest Super Bowl odds for his first-round order.
The reward for having such a high pick (and bad season) is a scenario in which the Chicago Bears land an elite skill player to add to quarterback Justin Fields’ arsenal. And at the No. 3 overall selection, Sanchez sends the Bears another Ohio State star, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
“This is simple: Justin Fields needs help,” Sanchez wrote. “This past draft, the Bears spent their high picks on defensive players instead of getting Fields offensive help and it’s showing. Fields has the duty of trying to operate one of the worst offensive units in the NFL this season. In this NFL mock draft, I think the Bears change their strategy and get Fields some help. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is also a Buckeye which should help him and Fields build chemistry and should finally give the young QB a viable option at wide receiver.”
Whether Smith-Njigba is worthy of a top-five selection is debatable. His odds of coming off the board that high go way up if the Bears end the season with one of the first few picks. Their need will combine with Smith-Njigba’s talent to create a very real possibility this pick happens.
A league source told Bears Talk that Jaxon Smith-Njigba checked in at a verified 6004 and 193 pounds last season and is expected to run a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash. While it appears his play speed is faster than that, it’s the estimate NFL scouts have assigned him. He was remarkably productive last season when he totaled 95 catches for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns, and would be a welcomed addition to the Chicago Bears wide receiver room.
For the rest of Sanchez’s 2023 mock draft, click here.