Longtime NFL writer Peter King published his 2023 mock draft Monday. It’s a mock that warrants attention from Chicago Bears fans. King is one of the industry’s longest-tenured writers with contacts that run deeper than the Atlantic Ocean.
Fortunately, King’s mock draft continues the months-long theme that GM Ryan Poles will use his first pick to protect Justin Fields. It’s equally fortunate that the player King has falling to the Chicago Bears happens to be the best offensive tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft: Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr.
“If you’re GM Ryan Poles, you’ve solved a few problems already with offseason acquisitions at receiver (D.J. Moore) and linebacker (T.J. Edwards, Tremaine Edmunds) and guard (Nate Davis),” King wrote. “This is the next one—the rock at tackle Poles hopes Johnson can be. Johnson’s stock rose this offseason and he should be immediate help for a line that allowed an unacceptable 58 sacks last year.”
Indeed, some Bears fans prefer Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski over Johnson. But in King’s mock draft, the likely guard convert isn’t selected until No. 14 (Patriots). Georgia’s Broderick Jones is the Jets’ selection at No. 13.
There’s a chance the Chicago Bears won’t have a chance to select Paris Johnson Jr. despite most mock drafts projecting him at nine. A recent report suggests teams interested in Johnson are targeting a trade with the Arizona Cardinals at No. 3.
Peter King’s mock draft is nothing more than a prediction about the unpredictable. His time spent covering the league makes his mock draft more meaningful. But the reality of the NFL Draft is that anything can happen. And that’s fantastic, especially for a Chicago Bears team that can go in a number of different directions in the first round.