Jalen Carter

Todd McShay now thinks Chicago Bears will take DL Jalen Carter in Round 1

ESPN must be getting some good intel about the Chicago Bears and their 2023 NFL Draft plan.

First, Mike Greenberg said “all the buzz” in Kansas City was that GM Ryan Poles will select DL Jalen Carter at No. 9 overall. Now, it’s Todd McShay who’s saying the same thing.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

With only a few hours before the 2023 NFL Draft gets underway, rumors like this are to be expected. Sometimes, they’re started simply to throw teams and media off the trail of actual intentions. Other times they’re circulated to drum up trade interest. There’s also a chance — a good one — that the Carter-to-the-Chicago Bears rumors have merit.

Jalen Carter began the 2023 NFL Draft cycle as the top non-quarterback in the class. His arrest and a poor showing at his pro day caused his stock to drop, but he’s always maintained a top-10 valuation.

Carter finished the 2022 college season with 32 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. His impact was felt beyond the box score; Carter was the nation’s most disruptive interior defender and has fairly been described as a game-wrecker.

The Chicago Bears currently hold the ninth pick in Round 1. It’s unlikely Carter will be selected before the Seattle Seahawks at No. 5 when a gauntlet of potential suitors begins. The Detroit Lions (No. 6), Las Vegas Raiders (No. 7), and Atlanta Falcons (No. 8) could all conceivably have interest.

If Carter is off the board before the ninth pick, the Bears will likely pivot to the offensive line. Players like Paris Johnson Jr. and Broderick Jones, two prototype NFL offensive tackles, will rank high on Poles’ wish list.

But if the 2023 NFL Draft rumor mill is accurate, Carter’s slide will stop at No. 9 and the Chicago Bears. And Coach Matt Eberflus will get the 3-tech he so desperately desires.

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