2024 Chicago Bears Draft Target: Malik Nabers
John David Mercer - USA Today Sports

2024 Chicago Bears Draft Target: Malik Nabers

by - Senior Writer -

Despite the NFL draft taking place in less than a month, several significant questions still need to be addressed. A lot of that falls on the top QBs and who goes where. You also need to look at the Chicago Bears' control of two top-10 picks and the potential for them to trade their second selection (No.9) for additional picks.

However, the more you examine this roster, the more likely it is that the Bears will hold on to this pick and make both of their first-round selections. That is where the biggest question comes into play: What exactly do the Bears do with their No. 9 pick?

Given that most expect the Bears to go with Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall, Malik Nabers is a name to watch for at No. 9. He would be a massive upgrade to this offense.

When you think about LSU when it comes to college football, WR University comes to mind. From Odell Beckham Jr to Justin Jefferson and JA'Mar Chase. Throw in Nabers and his teammate Brian Thomas and the list goes on and on. Depending on who you ask, Nabers is ranked anywhere between the No. 1 and No. 3 ranked WR in his class, but most peg him as the No. 2 overall option.

Even if that is the case, he could find himself as the third WR off the board, which plays into the hands of the Bears and where they pick. At 6-0 and 200 pounds, Nabers isn't the biggest WR out there, but he plays much bigger than he is and was arguably the best overall WR this season while playing with Heisman-winning QB Jayden Daniels.

Nabers is the next big thing coming out of LSU’s receiver room, with the pure explosiveness and talent to be mentioned in the same breath as former LSU stars starring in the league today. Although not the most polished route runner among the WRs in this class, Nabers makes up for it with his disguised route combinations and changing speed, which makes him a problem to defend at any level.

He is one of those guys who is an explosive athlete and makes even the most difficult plays look routine. He can play all three receiver spots and has the profile to become a productive, high-volume target over all three levels as a potential WR 1. With DJ Moore and Keenan Allen already in the WR room, adding Nabers makes this offense that much more dangerous and a problem for any team to contend with this season and beyond.

With Nabers already drawing player comparisons to former LSU WR Jefferson, if he is sitting there when the Bears pick, that makes it difficult for Chicago to pass up, as he could be the missing piece to make this offense go. When you watch him on film, you would love to see his route running be a bit better, but when you see the type of playmaker he is with the ball in his hand, you can live with him not being as polished as some.

He is a dangerous weapon in the open field, as he can take any throw to the house. Mix that with his strong hands, which allow him to battle for the ball and his leaping ability to contend for jump balls, and there really isn't a thing that he does bad enough that would concern you at the NFL level.

Of course, he isn't perfect—no prospect is—but when you compare his strengths to those of others, he has more strengths than weaknesses. If you had to pick out one thing for him to work on, it would be his overall route-running ability. Not being a polished route runner is okay in college, but once you get to the NFL, you need to be good with your routes, as the quality of CB play is miles better.

Nabers also needs to trust his overall ability a little bit more, as he tends to play timidly when he feels challenged. When Chase came out, he was more of a physical threat, while Jefferson was the complete package. Looking at Nabers, you can see a bit of both in him.

This is the one guy in the entire draft that is the biggest unknown as he could emerge as the best overall player from this class or could end up being average at best. Regardless, the talent level is too great to pass up, and the Bears will be watching how far he falls.

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