BearsHQ's NFL First-Round Mock Draft 2.0
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

BearsHQ's NFL First-Round Mock Draft 2.0

by - Correspondent -

With the mass amount of free agency signings and trades, it is time for ChicagoBearsHQ’s Mock Draft 2.0. Although it is still a few weeks before the NFL Draft, this mock draft will include mock trades.

1. Chicago Bears (from Carolina Panthers) - Caleb Williams, Quarterback (USC)

After trading quarterback Justin Fields and boosting the offensive talent with the likes of running back D’Andre Swift, tight end Gerald Everett and wide receiver Keenan Allen, Chicago is clearly building their team to be an immediate contender. The final piece is their franchise quarterback.

Particularly after USC’s Pro Day, it seems Chicago is trending toward taking Williams with their No. 1 overall pick. Head coach Matt Eberflus seemed rather impressed with him and spent a great deal of time talking with him one-on-one. The Bears sent many people, including Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles, to watch Williams. They did not do that for the quarterback Jayden Daniels from LSU, commonly considered the No. 2 quarterback. The Bears seem to have their mind made up. It would be a shock if they did not select Williams.

2. Washington Commanders - Jayden Daniels (LSU)

With the No. 1 prospect off the board, the Commanders go with the next-best option with Daniels at No. 2. The Commanders had a strong presence at his pro day, including head coach Dan Quinn. They also talked with Daniels after the pro day, according to their agent, Ron Butler. Washington is already preparing for a quarterback, signing Marcus Mariota during free agency would be a solid veteran presence to backup a new rookie.

3. New England Patriots - Drake Maye, Quarterback (North Carolina)

The Patriots officially do not have a quarterback after trading away 2021-selection Mac Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars. They are also preparing for a rookie quarterback, bringing in Jacoby Brissett as a backup. His strong season in 2022 should be enough to have him go No. 3 overall, but some consideration should be given to J.J. McCarthy from Michigan here.

4. Arizona Cardinals - Marvin Harrison Jr, Wide Receiver (Ohio State)

A lot of things happened in the offseason, but the Arizona Cardinals picking up a talented wide receiver was not one of them. They lost former No. 1 receiver Marquise Brown during free agency, making the need for a No. 1 receiver even larger. Marvin Harrison Jr, the two-time All-American and 2023 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, is the clear choice for Arizona.

5. Los Angeles Chargers - Rome Odunze, Wide Receiver (Washington)

The Chargers' need for a right tackle is huge, and they did not address it in free agency. However, they created a larger need—a wide receiver. They released Mike Williams and traded Keenan Allen to the Bears; tight end Gerald Everett is now a Bear. Addressing their greatest need first, the Chargers selected Odunze as their No. 1 receiver going into the 2024 season.

6. New York Giants - Malik Nabers, Wide Receiver (LSU)

New York is also a team with a lot of needs. Wide receiver is perhaps their greatest need. With Harrison Jr and Odunze off the board, the Giants go with the next-best receiver available in Nabers. At 6 foot 1, 188 pounds, Nabers big-body body receiver, which the Giants also greatly need, making him a good fit.

7. Tennessee Titans - Joe Alt, Offensive Lineman (Notre Dame)

With as strong an offensive line class as there is in this draft, the Titans get lucky with Alt falling to them at No. 7. Notre Dame has proven to be an offensive line powerhouse. Furthermore, they did not address this position during free agency, making it even more critical to address in the draft.

8. Minnesota Vikings (from Atlanta Falcons in a mock trade) - J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

With the top three receivers in the draft off the board and their quarterback situation solved by Kirk Cousins's free agency move to Atlanta from Minnesota, the Falcons are willing to trade the No. 8 overall pick, and the Vikings are willing to pay the price.

Minnesota needs to fill the gap left by Cousins's departure to Atlanta, and McCarthy is the quarterback they choose. McCarthy finished high in the 2023 Heisman voting and led his team to a National Championship victory. His stock has been on the rise, and after Minnesota traded with the Texans to acquire a first-round pick, it was only a matter of time before they made a stronger move for their franchise quarterback.

9. Chicago Bears - Olumuyima Fashanu, Offensive Lineman (Penn State)

The Bears signed multiple offensive line players during free agency. However, none of them are definite starters. With the top three receivers gone, Chicago takes a more best-player-available approach. This would also help the team improve at left tackle, especially since they are picking their franchise quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick.

However, protecting Williams’ blind side is a higher priority than acquiring defensive talent, which they can do in the third round. Nonetheless, they need to be incredibly wise with their picks since they only have four selections overall.

Something to watch out for would be the Vikings trading with Chicago instead of Atlanta. The Falcons most certainly will not select a quarterback, and the Bears would probably like to acquire some draft picks. So, this is something to watch out for, particularly with the top three receivers being off the board very quickly. The only reason it is not in this mock draft is that I do not believe Chicago will want to trade back when one of the top offensive line prospects is still available.

10. New York Jets - JC Lathan, Offensive Tackle (Alabama)

The New York Jets now have a dynamic duo with Mike Williams and Garrett Wilson. However, that does not do any good if Aaron Rodgers misses most of the season again. Their priority going into the draft still needs to be their left tackle position.

11. Las Vegas Raiders (from Atlanta Falcons, via Minnesota Vikings in two mock trades- Bo Nix, Quarterback (Oregon)

Fearing the Broncos will draft a quarterback, the Raiders traded up to get ahead of them and drafted Bo Nix. Quarterback is clearly their biggest need because Aidan O’Connell is not the answer. They filled in that hole with Nix, the 2023 Pac-12 Offensive Playerwillr.

12. Denver Broncos - Brock Bowers, Tight End (Georgia)

Russell Wilson is now the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, leaving head coach Sean Payton and the Denver Bron, cos without a starting quarterback. However, they are in a rebuilding process that is going to take multiple seasons.

Anticipating they will have a higher draft pick next season, the Broncos opt not to choose a quarterback and instead go for a foundational player in Brock Bowers who is unquestionably the best tight end in the draft.

13. Atlanta Falcons (from Las Vegas Raiders in mock trade) - Dallas Turner, Edge (Alabama)

With no defensive players drafted, the Falcons are comfortable trading back again to gain more draft capital. With the No. 13 overall selection, they take the first defensive player. A glaring hole in the defense is an edge rusher. Defensive end Calais Campbell was their sack leader last season with 6.5 sacks. However, he will be 38 years old for their season opener, so he cannot have too many years left. Preparing for that, Turner gets to spend his rookie year learning from Campbell and gives the Falcons a much-needed edge rusher.

14. New Orleans Saints - Jared Verse, Edge (Florida State)

Sometimes, you just have to take the best player available even if that does not address your greatest need. While the Saints want to prioritize replacing left tackle Trevor Penning, having Verse drop to No. 14 is too good for them to pass up.

15. Indianapolis Colts - Terrion Arnold, Cornerback (Alabama)

The tide has been turning on who the No. 1 cornerback in the draft is. While my last mock draft had them selecting cornerback Nate Wiggins out of Clemson, the general feeling around the league seems to be that Arnold is the top cornerback in this draft. Therefore, to address their biggest need with the cornerback position, the Colts with the best one available.

16. Seattle Seahawks - Byron Murphy II, Defensive Tackle (Texas)

Seattle really needs a linebacker, but cannot get a quality one at this position in the draft. So, they opt to wait for the second round to draft one, taking advantage of drafting one of the best defensive talents in the draft class.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars - Nate Wiggins, Cornerback (Clemson)

The Jaguars like Clemson products; they already have three on their offense. So, they decide to add a Tiger to their defense as well with cornerback Nate Wiggins, the second-fastest player at the NFL Combine who has a lot of big-play potential.

18. Cincinnati Bengals - Taliese Fuaga, Offensive Lineman (Oregon State)

Fuaga is unquestionably one of the best offensive linemen in this draft class. However, he played on the right side of the line, whereas NFL teams are generally more focused on the left side. The Bengals' biggest need is their right tackle, and even though they acquired Trenton Brown to address this, Fuaga is a better option.

19. Los Angeles Rams - Laiatu Latu, Edge (UCLA)

With Aaron Donald's retirement, the Rams have an incredibly large gap to fill. So, they go with the All-American Latu, a little taller but slightly lighter than Donald. Adding on a little weight would not be a big deal, and he possesses the talent to be an elite player in the league.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Troy Franklin, Wide Receiver (Oregon)

After trading Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers, the Steelers need a wide receiver for Russell Wilson to throw to. So, they take the best wide receiver available: Franklin, who had two very productive seasons with the Ducks.

21. Miami Dolphins - Troy Fantanu, Offensive Lineman (Washington)

Dolphins addressed their defense extensively in free agency. Now, their attention turns to their offensiEagles' acquisitions prior. Fantanu has experience both on the outside and inside of the line, so Miami drafts him as a versatile player with the intention of him being a guard for them.

22. Philadelphia Eagles - Quinyon Mitchell, Cornerback (Toledo)

With all of the acquisitions the Eagles have made during free agency, they still need a cornerback. They brought back C.J. Gardner-Johnson; however, Gardner-Johnson played at safety during his last stint with Philadelphia. Darius Slay is coming off a Pro Bowl season but has played 11 years in the league. Therefore, now would be a good time to invest in an elite cornerback to develop with Slay.

23. Minnesota Vikings (from Houston Texans via Cleveland Browns) - Chop Robinson, Edge (Penn State)

Since Minnesota addressed its most significant need for a quarterback with the trade-up to No. 8, it can now focus on its other need: an edge rusher. While he is about 20 pounds lighter than Danielle Hunter, Robinson still has the ability to step into that role. His lateral ability also makes up for his lack of size.

24. Dallas Cowboys - Amarius Mims, Offensive Tackle (Georgia)

It is time for an offensive line upgrade in Dallas. There is a lot of depth in the draft on both sides of the line, but fewer teams are drafting right tackles. Terence Steele is coming off a season where he had a Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade of 50.8. Mims would most certainly be an upgrade and serve the Cowboys well in the long run.

25. Green Bay Packers - Jordan Morgan, Offensive Tackle (Arizona)

Unfortunately for Bears fans, the Packers addressed their running back room and safety situation during free agency. The next pressing issue is the offensive line. With Green Bay releasing left tackle David Bak,htiari, Morgan is drafted to replace him on Jordan Love’s blind side.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Kool-Aid McKinstry, Cornerback (Alabama)

Cornerback is one of the pressing needs for Tampa Bay. They can address linebacker later in the draft, but this is a strong cornerback class and the Buccaneers will take advantage of that by drafting an elite corner in McKinstry.

27. Carolina Panthers (from Arizona Cardinals (mock trade) via Houston Texans) - Darius Robinson, Edge (Missouri)

The Arizona Cardinals had three big needs entering the draft: wide receiver, linebacker, and cornerback. They found their No. 1 receiver in Marvin Harrison Jr. It is not worth drafting a linebacker, and the cornerbacks are quite picked over. So, they are open to trade, and with the Carolina Panthers having and not having a first-round pick, they trade up to No. 27.

With Brian Burns now on the New York Giants, the Panthers are more desperate than before for an edge rusher. The top edge rushers have already been

picked, but Darius Robinson had a nice career in Missouri and with five seasons of experience, he comes into the league with more games under his belt than most. Last season was a breakout year with 14 tackles for loss, including 8.5 sacks which was No. 4 in the SEC.

Robinson is a solid player who will help the Panthers for years to come.

28. Buffalo Bills - Brian Thomas Jr., Wide Receiver (LSU)

The salary cap burned the Bills. It dismantled them, then traded receiver Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans. Gabriel Davis is no longer with the team, making Khalil Shakir the No. 1 receiver currently in Buffalo. That cannot stand. So, they use their first-rounder on a speedy receiver who had 17 touchdowns last season and played alongside Jayden Daniels.

29. Detroit Lions - Adonai Mitchell, Wide Receiver (Texas)

Taking the best player available approach, the Lions find that wide receiver Adonai Mitchell slides to them at No. 29 overall. He is an incredibly fast receiver and is a little smaller, making him a good contrast to Amon-Ra St. Brown. Pairing these two together could make the Lions more dangerous in the upcoming season.

30. Baltimore Ravens - Devontez Walker, Wide Receiver (UNC)

Drafting Zay Flowers in the first round proved vital to the Ravens’ playoff run last season. However, a solid No. 2 receiver to pair with Flowers and tight end Mark Andrews could take this group to another level, especially because this is not something they addressed during free agency. Walker offers Baltimore that opportunity.

31. San Francisco 49ers - Tyler Guyton, Offensive Tackle (Oklahoma)

San Francisco's right tackle position needs improvement, and they did not address this during free agency. Guyton, at 6 foot 7 inches and 328 pounds, is a large presence who can give the 49ers the improvement they need to continue protecting quarterback Brock Purdy and allowing running back Christian McCaffrey to continue hurting defenses.

32. Kansas City Chiefs - Xavier Worthy, Wide Receiver (Texas)

Despite winning the Super Bowl, the Chiefs could still use improvement. Wide receiver was a problem for them throughout the season. The situation with their top receiver, Rashee Rice, is currently unclear. He could be facing criminal liability and discipline from the NFL, which is entirely the Chiefs. This will probably be a lot more clear by the draft and should not impact their draft decision too much.

But especially with the potential of not having their top receiver in the upcoming game of the season, drafting a receiver with their first-round pick is completely worth it. Further, speedsters like Worthy, who holds the all-time NFL Combine record for fastest 40-yard dash time, fit well into the Chiefs’ offensive scheme.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Ariana Pensy: Email | Comment
Post your comments!