Who should the Bears draft at No. 9 overall?
Trevor Ruszkowski - USA Today Sports

Who should the Bears draft at No. 9 overall?

by - Correspondent -

With the blockbuster trade that the Bears made - trading the No. 1 overall pick for No. 9, No. 61, the Carolina Panthers’s 2024 1st-round pick, their 2025 second-round pick, and wide receiver DJ Moore, this changes everything for Chicago’s draft strategy. So, who should they pick at No. 9?

Obviously, this depends a lot on what the Bears do with the rest of free agency. But, as of right now, it would make the most sense at No. 9 for Chicago to start thinking about drafting an offensive lineman. Will Anderson out of Alabama will be gone by this point, even with a bunch of quarterbacks flying off the board. Further, a good offensive lineman is incredibly difficult to come by and the draft features some that could do a lot of wonders in protecting quarterback Justin Fields.

Peter Skoronski - Northwestern

Peter Skoronski is the player most commonly projected to be drafted No. 9 overall. Furthermore, he is regarded by many, including Pro Football Focus, as the best offensive lineman in the draft. In college, Skoronski played at the tackle position. However, given his size at 6 foot 4 inches and 313 pounds, most see him transitioning to the guard position in the NFL. In addition, he plays on the left side, whereas Larry Borom, who had a solid season last year, plays on the right. Therefore, it is important for Chicago to get more players on the left. He’s born and raised in Illinois, so he can handle the Chicago winds and winter, which is a little bonus for Bears fans. If Skoronski is available at No. 9, there is no question that the Bears should take him.

Paris Johnson Jr - Ohio State

So what if Skoronski isn’t available at No. 9? Then, there’s Paris Johnson Jr who would get to block for his old quarterback at Ohio State. Pro Football Focus has him ranked as the second-best offensive linemen in the draft and like Skoronski, he played in college as a left tackle. However, because Johnson Jr has a bit more size (he’s two inches taller but the same weight), then we could surely play at the tackle position. Johnson needs a bit more development as a player, but has a lot of upside.

Anton Harrison - Oklahoma

Odds are that either Skoronski or Johnson Jr will be available. But, the draft can be crazy and unpredictable and coaches want to protect their quarterback. So, if the Bears somehow can’t get Skoronski or Johnson Jr, then there is Anton Harrison out of Oklahoma. Harrison doesn’t present the same strength as the other two, but he’s a 6 foot 4 inch, 315-pound left tackle. Despite being heavier than Skoronski, Harrison actually had a much faster 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine; while Skoronski ran a 5.16, Harrison ran a 4.98. However, Skoronski had a better vertical jump and broad jump. So Harrison is obviously more of a speed player while Skoronski possesses greater athleticism. Also, Harrison does need a bit more development than Johnson Jr and Skoronski do. Ideally, the Bears would like a player who can make an impact right away and that might not be Harrison.

Andrew Vorhees - Southern California

Some of you might be wondering what happened to Andrew Vorhees as he was also a highly-discussed offensive line talent. Answer - he tore his ACL at the NFL Combine. Realistically, he will miss a lot of time this season, if not the entire season. So, he’s definitely not worth drafting at No. 9 overall. But, the Bears now have a total of 10 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft including two fourth round picks (one of them is from the Eagles), two fifth round picks (one of them is from the Patriots), and two seventh round picks (one of them is a compensatory pick). Vorhees played both left and right tackle, and left and right guard, in college. Thus, he could really play anywhere. Due to his size, he would probably play at a guard position. But say the Bears draft Skoronski, put him at left guard, and then get Vorhees in a later round and put him at right guard. Then, the Bears now have good players at right tackle (Borom), left guard (Skoronski) and right guard (Vorhees). Of course, Chicago would have to wait for him to get healthy to make an impact. Still, that is a risk worth taking in a later round for a quality player.

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