LAKE FOREST — On April 27, 28, and 29, Ryan Poles and his front office staff will be put to the test as they face a critical three days in their effort to add to their roster.
At least the Bears’ general manager will have a fair share of chances to find players to help continue to do that in his second year in Chicago.
So Poles along with the rest of his scouts and front office staff are going to be very busy at the end of this month as they make selections across seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Here are a few things to know about a very important three days coming up at the end of the month.
How many picks do the Bears have?
As of one week before the NFL draft, the Bears currently have ten selections in 2023, with at least one pick in every round except the sixth.
They initially held the No. 1 overall selection but traded that to the Panthers for the No. 9 & No. 61 picks in this draft along with a first rounder in 2024, a second rounder in 2025, and wide receiver D.J. Moore.
Here are the selections the Bears currently hold, including three in the first two rounds.
- 1st Round – 9th Overall
- 2nd Round – 53rd Overall (From Ravens – Roquan Smith Trade)
- 2nd Round – 61st Overall (From Panthers – No. 1 Overall Pick Trade)
- 3rd Round – 64th Overall
- 4th Round – 103rd Overall
- 4th Round – 133rd Overall (From Eagles – Robert Quinn Trade)
- 5th Round – 136th Overall
- 5th Round – 148th Overall (From Patriots Through Ravens – Smith Trade)
- 7th Round – 218th Overall
- 7th Round – 258th Overall
Naturally, this list figures to change with a few trades over the three days, as was the case last year when the Bears ended up making 11 selections after having just six to start.
Back in the first round
This is something that’s significant for Bears fans because the team has been on the outside of this part of the draft looking in for the past few years.
In the previous four drafts, the team has only selected in the first round one time. The 2019 & 2020 first round picks went to the Raiders in the Khalil Mack trade, with the 2022 top selection going to the Giants to take Justin Fields in the first round in 2021.
A Return to the Top 10
The 2023 NFL Draft is a return for the Bears to the Top 10 of the draft, where they haven’t been in five years.
In 2018, the Bears selected linebacker Roquan Smith with the eighth overall pick after finishing the 2017 regular season at 5-11.
Should the Bears remain in the No. 9 spot, it will mark the 53rd time they’ve selected a player in the Top 10 of the draft. They’ve picked ninth six previous times, the last being outside linebacker Leonard Floyd in 2016, with Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher (2000) highlighting that group.
Which name will the commissioner read first for the Bears?
Sometimes it can be easy to see who a team might select with a high pick, but the Bears have so many needs on the roster that there are a few ways they could go.
Offensive line help is needed, so Northwestern tackle Peter Skoronski or Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson Jr. could be on their list. They need to add the interior of the defensive line, so if Georgia’s Jalen Carter falls, the Bears could snag him at No. 9.
Rushing help is always wanted, especially after finishing last in sacks in 2022, so Iowa defensive end and Barrington native Lukas Van Ness could be a possibility as well. It’s unlikely that Will Anderson Jr. of Georgia will be there when the Bears pick, but if somehow he slips, it would be hard for Poles to pass him up.
Illinois All-American cornerback Devon Witherspoon could be a possibility if the general manager wants to lock down his secondary, or maybe he selects Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba for more help for Fields.
There are a number of ways to go, and the Bears could even trade down to get more picks if necessary.
All are possibilities until the Bears are finally on the clock on April 27 and then for the next few days.