Chicago, IL

Free Agents and Top Draft Picks Line Up Nicely with Bears' Needs

Larry E Lambert
NFL Commissioner Roger GoodellPhoto byCreative Commons: WEBN-TV

The needs of the Chicago bears are many and well-chronicled. They include interior defensive line help, an edge pass rusher, a linebacker or two, help on the offensive line and a number one WR. They will also have to do something at RB, even if it's just resigning David Montgomery. Fortunately for them, their needs and the available talent match up pretty well. Having your QB in place is a huge help. Let's look at the available talent.

Help for the defensive line is available

In most mock drafts, the Bears are trading down. But despite that, most drafts show the Bears drafting either Alabama edge rusher, Will Anderson Jr., or Georgia defensive tackle, Jalen Carter. Free agency also offers some potential help.

The Bears should snag one of these guys

Eagles' DE, Javon Hardgrove could be a huge help to the Bears if the Eagles don't lock him down. The same could be said for Commanders' DT, Daron Payne. Yannick Ngakoue isn't particularly good against the run but racked up 9.5 sacks from his DE slot with the Colts last season. Jadeveon Clowney is also available but recorded only two sacks last season. He may be worth taking a flyer however, based on past performance.

There are lots of choices available on the offensive line

The Bears' play at center was subpar throughout the 2022 season. Help is available via the draft. Minnesota center, John Michael Schnitz is considered the top center of this year's draft class. His strong performance during the Senior Bowl week has boosted his status to the point he may be a first round pick. If so, the Bears would have to pick up an extra first round draft choice for Schmitz to be in play. If not Schmitz, then Ohio State's Luke Wypler and Arkansas' Rickey Stromberg could be a fit. Any of those three would be an upgrade over what the Bears had that position last year.

Offensive tackle is also an area of need. Whether the Bears will continue to go with Braxton Jones at left tackle or not is an open question, but at the very least look for them to go with a new starter at right tackle. There are a lot of pretty good offensive tackles in NFL free agency. The one most frequently associated with potential Bears' signings is 49ers RT, Mile McGlinchy.

The draft features offensive tackles, Peter Skoronski of Northwestern and man/mountain Paris Johnson Jr. of Ohio State. The Bears draft position makes it unlikely that the Bears will be in a position to draft either one, unless they trade down in the draft.

Jack Sanborn was a revelation last season, but more help at LB was needed.

There are a number of veteran free agent linebackers in this year's free agency crop. Of those, Kaden Elliss showed some big paly ability with seven sacks. Keep an eye on that potential match with the Bears.

How about some playmakers on offense?

There are a number of decent WRs in free agency, but no name that jumps out at you. Jakobi Meyers and Allen Lazard are headliners in this group. The draft doesn't have the glitter of previous drafts at the position.

There are some big-time running backs, however. If Saquon Barkley or Josh Jacobs hits free agency, they are upgrades over David Montgomery and Kahlil Herbert. The question is, "How much do you allocate for a running back?"

A potential sleeper to help the Bears offense? Dolphins TE, Mike Gesicki.

Look for at least a few of the guys mentioned above to be on the Bears' 2023 roster.

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You probably don't know my name, but you've likely seen or heard my work. I've written for various syndicated cartoonists and TV standups. My gags have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, Barron's, Parade Magazine, and the Saturday Evening Post. The comedians I've sold to include Jay Leno for the Tonight Show. In addition, I've written for radio stations and ad agencies. I hope you enjoy my work.

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