8 players Chicago Bears could consider at No. 9 in 2024 NFL Draft

What might the Bears do with their second of 2 first-round picks

Florida State defensive lineman Jared Verse reacts after a play during the second half of the team's Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against Louisville, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C.

The NFL world feels pretty confident about what the Bears will do with the No. 1 overall pick. General manager Ryan Poles, head coach Matt Eberflus and the front office appear poised to select USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the top pick April 25.

But what’s less certain is what the Bears will do with their other first-round pick. The Bears also hold the No. 9 overall pick. While the No. 1 overall pick belongs to Chicago thanks to last year’s trade with the Carolina Panthers, the No. 9 pick is the one the Bears earned all on their own by finishing last season with a 7-10 record.

Poles is likely to target a premium position with that pick. The Bears could be zeroing in on three premium positions where they have a need: receiver, defensive end and offensive tackle. They’ll likely address the quarterback spot with the No. 1 overall pick, and cornerback is not much of a need now that they’ve locked up Jaylon Johnson for the next four years.

So who might be in the running at No. 9? Here are some players worth considering.

Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

If the Bears want to level up their offensive line, finding a stud left tackle just might do it. Joe Alt (6-foot-9, 321 pounds) appears likely to be the first tackle selected in the draft. It’s possible he’s gone by the time the No. 9 pick comes around. Alt was the starting left tackle and a team captain for the Fighting Irish. The Bears have Braxton Jones, who they like, at left tackle. But a first-round left tackle could give them two solid anchors for the next three years, at least, with Darnell Wright at right tackle.

Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers runs with the ball after a catch against Vanderbilt on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.

Brock Bowers (6-3, 243) is the only nonpremium position player on this list. Tight end is not typically a position that gets drafted in the top 10, but Bowers is considered an elite tight end prospect. If the Bears are dead set on surrounding Williams with pass catchers, Bowers would give the Bears a truly elite collection of tight ends. But with Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett already on the roster, it might not make a ton of sense for the Bears to go that direction.

Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Penn State’s Olu Fashanu (6-6, 312) is the other elite left tackle in this draft. The Maryland native played high school football with Williams at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. It’s highly likely that one of the top tackles will be available at No. 9. Again, Braxton Jones is capable, but Fashanu and Alt project as upgrades at left tackle. If the Bears want to upgrade that spot, they’ll have a chance to do it this year.

JC Latham, OT, Alabama

JC Latham (6-6, 342) is another potential option at tackle. Latham, however, played most of his college career at right tackle. The Bears already have Wright penciled in at right tackle. Taking Latham would necessitate one of them moving to left tackle. That’s certainly possible, but it puts Latham at a disadvantage compared with Alt and Fashanu.

Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

LSU receiver Malik Nabers reacts after his touchdown against Georgia State during a game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

Everyone has their eye on the wide receiver position. Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison is likely gone before No. 9. The same is probably true for LSU’s Malik Nabers (6-0, 200). But the Bears, no doubt, are doing their homework on all the receivers. Some teams consider Nabers the No. 1 receiver on the board. Nabers has the skill set to instantly upgrade any passing attack. He totaled more than 1,500 receiving yards last season.

Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Realistically, only one of the top three receivers is likely to drop to the Bears at No. 9 – and it’s possible all three of them will be gone. Washington’s Rome Odunze (6-3, 212) seems like the most likely of the three to be available at No. 9. Odunze was dominant in college, and he was a big reason why the Huskies reached the national championship game. If none of the top three receivers is available, the Bears could consider trading down.

Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama

Edge rusher is a huge need for the Bears. They need to find a defensive end who can play opposite Montez Sweat. Dallas Turner (6-3, 247) has the length that Poles covets at the edge rusher position. Turner’s 34 3/8-inch arms are long and lanky. He could be the first defender chosen in this year’s draft. Turner had 22.5 sacks over three seasons at Alabama.

Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

Florida State’s Jared Verse (6-4, 254) also is in play to be the first edge rusher taken, and maybe the first defender selected in the draft. Verse has a fun story, too. He spent his first three years at Albany before transferring to Florida State, where he had nine sacks in each of the past two seasons. With 33 1/2-inch arms, Verse doesn’t quite have the length that Turner possesses, but he still appears to have the tools to be a really good edge rusher in the NFL.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.