Bears

Here’s 10 potential players Chicago Bears could consider with top draft pick

Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter waves to the crowd before the national championship game between Georgia and TCU, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif.

In dramatic fashion, the Houston Texans beat the Indianapolis Colts last week, and paved the way for the Bears to take over the No. 1 draft pick.

General manager Ryan Poles can thank already-fired Texans coach Lovie Smith for that gem. Now, Poles has all the power at the top of the draft. He could potentially seek to trade down, acquiring additional picks in the process. Or he could stay put and draft a high-caliber prospect.

With Justin Fields on the roster, Poles probably doesn’t need to draft a quarterback. He set the bar at needing to be “blown away” by a QB prospect to make such a move at No. 1 overall. Still, he will almost certainly do the legwork on all the available quarterbacks, just in case someone does blow him away.

Regardless, the 3-14 Bears have a real chance to improve their roster on draft day. It’s far too soon to know how this draft will shake out, but here’s 10 players the Bears could consider selecting with the first overall pick.

Players are listed alphabetical by last name.

Will Anderson Jr., edge rusher, Alabama

Anderson (6-4, 243) led Alabama with 10 sacks and 17 tackles for loss this season. This came a year after totaling 17.5 sacks for the Crimson Tide as a sophomore in 2021. He would instantly upgrade the Bears’ pass rush.

Jalen Carter, defensive lineman, Georgia

Carter (6-3, 300) was a finalist to Anderson for the Lombardi Award, which goes to the nation’s best lineman. He finished the season with seven tackles for loss, three sacks and 29 QB hurries. Carter plugged up the middle for the national champion Bulldogs.

Paris Johnson, offensive tackle, Ohio State

Johnson (6-6, 310) played left tackle for the Buckeyes this season after playing at guard in 2021. He allowed only two sacks all season protecting C.J. Stroud’s blind side, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Quentin Johnston, wide receiver, TCU

The Bears probably aren’t drafting a receiver with the first overall pick. Nobody has done that since the Jets took Keyshawn Johnson first in 1996. But Johnston (6-4, 215) makes the short list of potential top receivers taken this year. He caught 60 passes for 1,069 yards (17.8 yards per catch) and six touchdowns this season. He’s an athletic freak with tantalizing size.

Will Levis, quarterback, Kentucky

At 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, Levis is built like a brick wall. From that perspective, he’s the anti-Bryce Young. He threw for 2,406 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a senior in 2022. He ranked fourth in the SEC and 27th nationally in pass efficiency for a Wildcats team that went 7-6. His arm strength will wow NFL scouts.

Myles Murphy, edge rusher, Clemson

The Bears will put an emphasis on the defensive line this offseason, and Murphy (6-5, 275) has recorded double-digit tackles for loss in each of his three seasons at Clemson. He led the Tigers with 6.5 sacks this season. Murphy has the skillset to play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.

Peter Skoronski, offensive tackle, Northwestern

Skoronski (6-4, 315) and Paris Johnson could be the top tackles taken in the draft, in some order. Skoronski is a local star who played at Maine South and would be a great story for the Bears. He has the size and length that NFL teams look for and he has good pedigree – his grandfather Bob Skoronski played 11 seasons for the Packers.

C.J. Stroud, quarterback, Ohio State

A two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, Stroud (6-3, 218) finished his college career with arguably one of his best games in the semifinal against Georgia. In two seasons as the starter (after Justin Fields left), Stroud threw for 85 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a 69.3% completion rate. He was 21-4 as the starter at Ohio State.

Tyree Wilson, edge rusher, Texas Tech

Wilson (6-6, 275) began his college career at Texas A&M before transferring to Texas Tech. He had 61 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 10 games as a senior last season. Wilson has the size and strength to find a home on an NFL defensive line.

Bryce Young, quarterback, Alabama

The only Heisman Trophy winner on the list, Young (6-0, 194) is the only Alabama QB to throw for 3,000 yards in two seasons. He threw for 80 touchdowns and more than 8,300 yards in two seasons over his career, winning the Heisman in 2021. There’s no questioning his accomplishments in college. The only real question mark is his size.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.