It’s always NFL Draft season. Just hours after the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft, we already have 2023 mock drafts popping up across the web. And one, in particular, stands out as an exciting prediction about who the Chicago Bears could land in the first round next April.
Let’s get the ugly part out of the way. According to The Draft Network’s Joe Marino, the Bears will have the seventh overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. This draft order isn’t Marino’s prediction, however. Instead, it’s the reverse Super Bowl odds, which suggests Chicago is in for a long first season for Head Coach Matt Eberflus.
But that long and difficult season will allow the Bears to land a supremely gifted wide receiver prospect in Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. According to Marino, he’ll be the first wide receiver off the board.
“The Bears are a work in progress with notable work left to do in building around Justin Fields,” Marino wrote. “Smith-Njigba overshadowed both of Ohio State’s 2021 first-round picks in Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.”
Ryan Poles can land a WR1 in 2023 NFL Draft
General Manager Ryan Poles has come under fire for not selecting a wide receiver in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Perhaps, he had an eye toward the 2023 draft class and liked the wide receivers more. And with a first-round pick in his arsenal, he’ll have a better opportunity to level up the weapons around Fields in his second draft as GM.
Poles explained his reasoning for drafting two defensive backs instead of a wide receiver in this year’s second round, and his logic is sound. But the aftermath of the NFL draft is never kind, especially to general managers who make unpopular decisions.
Adding Smith-Njigba in next year’s draft would be an easy choice for Poles, and one that’d he’d be praised for. Hopefully, the Bears are competitive and win enough games to keep fans excited well into the season’s final month. If that doesn’t happen, adding Smith-Njigba would be one heck of a pick-me-up.