2023 NFL mock draft: Bears trade back and take Georgia DT Jalen Carter

All eyes are on the Bears as the NFL waits to see what they’ll do with the No. 1 pick in the draft over the next three months.

The most likely course is that general manager Ryan Poles sticks with Justin Fields at quarterback and trades down a few spots. The Colts are a logical partner for that deal, and the Bears might even be able to trade back again from No. 4 to somewhere in the seventh-to-10th range.

Assuming they do a deal with the Colts, here’s a 2023 mock draft:

1. Colts (trade with Bears) — Alabama QB Bryce Young
Colts general manager Chris Ballard said he’ll do “whatever it takes” to get a quarterback and he’s surely feeling the heat from owner Jim Irsay. The Bears get a 2024 and ’25 first-round pick to slide back to No. 4.

2. Texans — Kentucky QB Will Levis
Levis wasn’t as prolific in college as Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, but scouts love his skillset and likely will project him as a better pro than Stroud.

3. Cardinals — Alabama DE Will Anderson
This would be an ideal player for the Bears to land, but the Cardinals need help in the pass rush, too. Anderson had 34 ½ sacks in three seasons.

4. Bears (trade with Colts) — Georgia DT Jalen Carter
Even after missing out on Anderson, the Bears get a game-changing player. This is an essential position in Matt Eberflus and Alan Williams’ defense — Remember their $40.5 million offer to Larry Ogunjobi? — and Carter was by far the best in college football.

5. Raiders (trade with Seahawks) — Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud
The Seahawks are likely to stick with Geno Smith after a Pro Bowl season, and the Raiders already are in desperation mode. This trade works for both sides.

6. Lions — Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer
The Lions also seem to believe they’re fine at quarterback given how Jared Goff played this season and they need a replacement for T.J. Hockenson after trading him to the Vikings.

7. Seahawks (trade with Raiders) — Clemson DT Bryan Bresee
The Seahawks gave up a whopping 4.9 yards per carry last season — same as the Bears — and need to start working on that problem immediately.

8. Falcons — Texas Tech DE Tyree Wilson
Too many teams need a quarterback for the Falcons to get in on one of the top prospects. They’re better served waiting to see if they bottom out this season and get USC’s Caleb Williams next year.

9. Panthers — TCU WR Quentin Johnston
If the Bears get a good offer to trade back twice, they should eye this range so they can get Johnston. Putting him with Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney would finally give them a top receiver corps.

10. Jets (trade with Eagles) — Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski
Skoronski would be Northwestern’s first top-10 draft pick since tackle Chris Hinton went fourth to the Broncos in 1983. He’d be another consideration for the Bears if they trade back to this area.

11. Titans — Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.
It’s hard to figure out if the Titans are going to trigger a full rebuild, but either way, a starting left tackle of this caliber is worth taking.

12. Texans — Iowa DE Lukas Van Ness
Van Ness had just 13 sacks in 26 games over the last two seasons with the Hawkeyes, but has shot up draft boards because he faced top tackles like Skoronski and Johnson in the Big Ten and stands 6-foot-5, 270 pounds.

13. Eagles (trade with Jets) — Texas RB Bijan Robinson
While it’s becoming increasingly difficult for running backs to go high in the draft, the Eagles have such a strong roster that they can afford to use this pick on an electric playmaker and see what kind of role they create for him.

14. Patriots — USC WR Jordan Addison
Addison was a monster for Pitt in 2021 and USC last season. Over 2021 and ’22, he totaled 159 catches for 2,468 yards and 25 touchdowns.

15. Packers — Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
The Packers might be looking at their final season with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and he was understandably frustrated with their wide receivers this season. Allen Lazard led the team with 60 catches.

16. Commanders — Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
The son of the former All-Pro linebacker by the same name, Porter is a far better college prospect than his dad. He could’ve gone pro a year ago.

17. Steelers — Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison
The Steelers need a lot of help offensively as they try to develop quarterback Kenny Pickett, and getting him a dependable tackle is a good start.

18. Lions — Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon
Witherspoon had three interceptions last season and would be the highest pick from Illinois since defensive tackle Corey Liuget went to the Chargers in this spot in 2011.

19. Buccaneers — Georgia OT Broderick Jones
Jones is enormous at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds and moves really well at that size. He was nearly unbeatable in college.

20. Seahawks — Alabama S Brian Branch
Branch is a versatile safety, and the Seahawks would have a lot of fun working him into their defense. He had two interceptions last season, plus 14 tackles for loss.

21. Chargers — Florida G O’Cyrus Torrence
Torrence undoubtedly is talented enough to go several picks higher than this, depending on how teams prioritize needs.

22. Ravens — Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez
Gonzalez began his career at Colorado, then transferred to Oregon and had four interceptions in 12 games last season.

23. Vikings — Georgia CB Kelee Ringo
The Vikings allowed the 12th-highest opponent passer rating (91.6) last season and got lit up by the Giants in the playoffs.

24. Jaguars — Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson
The Jaguars are a team worth watching after finishing in the top 10 in scoring this season. Their defense wasn’t far behind, and adding Johnson certainly would help.

25. Giants — Clemson LB Trenton Simpson
Simpson is a do-it-all linebacker like Roquan Smith and has the perfect versatility for the modern game with the strength to be a run stopper and the speed to drop back in coverage.

26. Cowboys — Georgia DE Nolan Smith
This would give Bulldogs, winners of back-to-back national championships, four players taken in the first round.

27. Bills — Baylor DT Siaki Ika
At 357 pounds, Ika would be one of the 10 heaviest players in the NFL. He had 48 tackles, including eight for loss, over the last two seasons.

28. Bengals — Maryland OT Jaelyn Duncan
As good as the Bengals have been the last two seasons, they’ve been asking quarterback Joe Burrow to play behind a subpar offensive line throughout that run. They owe him some help.

29. Broncos — South Carolina CB Cam Smith
Smith was a four-year player for the Gamecocks and held his own against some of the best SEC wide receivers. He had six interceptions over the last three seasons.

30. Eagles — Boston College WR Zay Flowers
The Eagles already have two 1,000-yard receivers in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, and Flowers would give them an up-and-comer to develop.

31. Chiefs — Iowa State DE Will McDonald IV
This is an ideal time for the Chiefs to bring another young pass rusher into the fold. With quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ massive contract, they’ll need to constantly search for budget-friendly talent.

(The Dolphins would have picked No. 21, but the NFL stripped it from them because of tampering violations)

Source : https://chicago.suntimes.com/bears/2023/1/25/23570023/2023-nfl-mock-draft-bears-trade-back-and-take-georgia-dt-jalen-carter

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