ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay published his way-too-early 2023 NFL mock draft Wednesday, and with the Chicago Bears back in the first round next April, it’s worth checking out who McShay has General Manager Ryan Poles targeting.
A quick note about the draft order: don’t hate on McShay for where the Bears are picking. He used the Super Bowl odds from Caesers Sportsbook to shape the first round. Chicago picks seventh, which doesn’t bode well for their chances to make a playoff push this fall.
As for who the Bears take, McShay has them dipping into next year’s talented wide receiver pool to select Pittsburgh’s Jordan Addison.
“Addison entered the transfer portal, so where he’ll be suiting up this season is still up in the air,” McShay wrote. “He was among the best receivers in college football last season with 100 catches for 1,593 yards and 17 trips to the end zone. The Bears opted to wait until Round 3 to draft a receiver (Velus Jones Jr.) and still need a legitimate outside starter opposite Darnell Mooney.”
2023 NFL mock drafts will be WR heavy for the Bears
Get used to every mock draft for the next 11 months to have the Bears selecting a wide receiver. Whether it’s Addison, Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, LSU’s Kayshon Boutte, or TCU’s Quentin Johnston, a wide receiver will be the projection in all of these exercises.
It’s especially true for any mock drafts that are published between now and the start of the 2022 NFL regular season. It’s certainly within the range of outcomes that Darnell Mooney and Velus Jones Jr. develop into an exciting young tandem this fall, but until that happens, wide receiver will be viewed as the Bears’ biggest weakness.
This is the second notable 2023 NFL mock draft to have the Bears taking a wide receiver in Round 1. The Draft Network’s Joe Marino published his way-too-early mock moments after the 2022 draft concluded and sent the Bears Smith-Njigba.
Hopefully, the Bears will win more games than projected by Las Vegas. And, hopefully, those wins will be due, in part, to the surprisingly productive group of wide receivers Poles collected this offseason. But if Chicago is destined for a losing season that usually comes with the early stages of a rebuild, landing one of next year’s top wide receivers will be a solid consolation prize.