Chicago Bears 2023 Mock Season: Becoming Hunters

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Every Chicago Bears 2023 offseason simulation is about experimenting with possibilities as the picture becomes more apparent. Here’s what we know. The Bears hold the second overall pick in the draft with two games to play. Two wins put them in 7th place overall. A win would likely leave them in 4th place. Losing secures 2nd place with a chance to steal 1st if Houston wins one of its two finals. It’s amazing how two games that are supposed to be meaningless can create so much stress for a fan base. Yet here we are.

The big debate right now is what GM Ryan Poles will do if he ends up with the 2nd pick. Many believe he is a virtual lock to trade, collecting extra picks from teams desperate to land their QB of the future. There will be opportunities for that as these teams continue to pile up in the top 10. It all comes down to whether a team is ready and willing to pay the high price. Here’s another possibility the Bears could consider.

This Chicago Bears 2023 offseason simulation is all about seizing opportunities.

Polite:

  • OG Cody Whitehair – $5.8 million saved
  • DE Al-Quadin Muhammad – $4 million saved

Rehiring/Extensions:

  • Jaylon Johnson – 4-year extension for $70 million
  • David Montgomery – 3-year deal for $27 million
  • Cole Kmet – 4-year extension for $32.4 million
  • Nicholas Morrow – 2-year deal for $10 million
  • Armon Watts – 1-year contract for $1.08 million
  • Equanimous St. Brown – 1-year contract for $1.08 million
  • N’Keal Harry – 1-year contract for $1.08 million
  • Trevon Wesco – 1-year contract for $1.08 million
  • Matthew Adams – 1-year contract for $1.08 million
  • Dane Cruikshank – 1-year contract for $1.08 million
  • DeAndre Houston-Carson – 1-year deal for $1.165 million
  • Patrick Scales – 1 year contract $1.165 million
  • Josh Blackwell – ERFA deal for $750,000

free agency:

Da’Ron Payne – 5-year contract for $95 million

The intent here is obvious. There’s no way this simulated Bears 2023 offseason is going to end without the team trying to resolve its three-man position. They urgently need an interior passageway. Payne is among the most dominant in the NFL this season in that role. He has 9.5 sacks and 17 QB hits. Blocking it for 60 minutes is next to impossible. It would be a significant step in the right direction.

Jawaan Taylor – 4-year deal for $70 million

He probably had one of the smoothest big years of any tackle in the league. Taylor gave up just 14 pressures on the quarterback all season without losing a game. He’s a big part of why Trevor Lawrence had such a huge breakout in the fall of 2023. Jacksonville may want to keep him, but they don’t have the space for it and they have a replacement waiting in Little Walker.

Bobby Okereke – 3-year deal for $15 million

He was highly productive in his final season with Matt Eberflus in 2021. He knows this defense better than anyone and it’s clear the Colts are about to enter a transition period. The Bears need more stability at linebacker. Okereke brings experience and proven productivity. He will have made 130 tackles for the second straight year by the end of this season.

Damien Harris – 1-year deal for $6 million

The third-round first pick has been outstanding in 2021, posting over 900 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Unfortunately, injuries have held him back this season. When healthy, he is a reliable back, excellent in short yardage situations and adds value through his pass protection skills. He will add even more depth to an already strong position for the Bears.

Keisean Nixon – 1-year contract for $2 million

Nixon established himself as one of the best returners in the NFL. He also showed flashes of improvement in coverage at cornerback. He adds value in two areas for the Bears. He will bring depth to the secondary and could also fill the punt returner role.

The draft:

Trade: 2024 2nd pick and 4th pick for Raiders for 9th pick, 2023 2nd pick, 2024 2nd pick and DE Maxx Crosby

Round 1 (via LVR) – Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Getting a stellar passing runner like Crosby would have been considered good enough. However, the Bears are not done yet. They take the revamp to a wild conclusion by adding Wilson as well. He is the ideal Eberflus guy. Not only is he a good athlete, but he also has 36-inch arms and a lot of strength. That defense is perfect for him and playing in front of Crosby will mean he has a lot of one-on-one blocks to start his career. If he develops into what he could be, this is a potential stud.

Trade: 41st pick (via LVR) and 3rd pick in 2023 to Bills for 30th pick, 5th pick in 2023, 7th pick in 2024

Round 1 (via BUF) – Andrew Vorhees, OG, USC

Poles understand how much the offensive line needs help. He stated early on that he wants powerful and violent blockers up front. Tone setters. Vorhees lives up to his last name because he legitimately tries to kill everyone he comes across. The guy is a grader who cuts holes for his running backs. Although he is not an elite athlete, he moves well enough in space and can control himself in pass protection. A plug-and-play launcher on guard.

Trade: Saints No. 56 pick 3rd in 2023, 4th in 2023, 5th in 2023, 5th in 2024

Round 3 (via NO) – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

People will pick Flowers because he’s shorter (5’10) and doesn’t carry a lot of weight. That doesn’t seem to have stopped him from dominating for three years. He is fast, athletic and has a natural game-making instinct. His lane running is one of his greatest strengths. Defenders are often not prepared for this. The Bears could put him in or out to find mismatches. He also has experience as a gadget player in the racing game.

Round 4 – Jakorian Bennett, CB, Maryland

An athletic cornerback with a tenacious streak. He plays physically despite his 5’11 frame and works best in a zone system. So he’s a good fit. He also plays a lot of football, recording four interceptions and 21 passes defended over the last two seasons. His arrival would give Chicago more depth in a critical position and someone who can play inside and out.

Round 4 (via NO) – Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Iowa State

He’s not unique in any category, but he’s not weak in any either. Hutchinson has athletic and decent size, length, speed. He is also a proper route runner. He has the conscience and hands to track the ball and make difficult catches. His production has improved in each of the last three seasons and he also appears in the film. Looks like his best football is yet to come.

Round 5 – Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan

His size and athleticism impresses no one. However, he has enough of both to handle most defensive linemen he faces. He moves well and shows a lot of intelligence on the pitch. Blitzes and stunts rarely catch you off guard. Quickness won’t beat him often. It is the power that can get you into trouble from time to time. Still, he has starting ability and can play right away if needed.

Round 5 (via BUF) – Tuli Tuipulotu, DL, USC

He can best be described as a teenager. He’s not big enough to be a defensive tackle and not long enough to be a defensive end. Still, one thing remains certain. Tuipulotu creates confusion on defense. His 12.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss prove that this season. This Bears 2023 offseason simulation would be remiss if it didn’t take the opportunity to pick up such a productive player so late.

Round 5 (via NO) – Byron Young, DT, Alabama

People are constantly talking about the three technique and its importance. This is true. Still, one thing remains inescapable. They cannot stop the race. You need defensive tackles that can do that too. Young made it his specialty at Alabama. He’s big, strong and hard to move. He may never develop as an inside pass runner, but he will bring instant value in obvious race situations.

Round 5 (via BAL) – Ji’Ayir Brown, S, Penn State

The Bears have done pretty well the last two times they’ve drafted Penn State bouncers (Adrian Amos and Jaquan Brisker). So why not go a third time? Brown is on the lower side but has established himself as an instinctive hawk with nine interceptions and three forced fumbles over two years. Its inconsistent combat issues and clashing with tight ends or larger receivers are the big concerns.

Round 7 – Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati

If Pace were two inches taller, he would probably be in the top 100 picks. Having 6’0 will drop you on many boards. That’s unfortunate because the guy is a vacuum cleaner when it comes to finding the ball. He has 306 tackles, 20 sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles in his collegiate career. If the Bears can look past his average length, he could be someone who outperforms his draft position.

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