by Frank Cooney

Bears are on the clock: A look at draft order, team needs and more

January 6, 2023
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The Chicago Bears are on the clock!

That became the good news part of the bad news for Bears fans when their team lost to the Minnesota Vikings on the final regular season weekend, 29-23, leaving Chicago with a 3-14 record.

That nudged the Houston Oilers (3-13-1) for rights to the first pick in the 88th annual National Football League Draft outside Union City Station in Kansas City,  April 27-29.

The Oilers literally won their way out of the top spot with a dramatic, 32-31, victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The deciding sequence was a 28-yard touchdown pass on fourth and 20 from David Mills to Jordan Atkins, followed by the same two players pairing up on a two-point conversion.

Despite the season-ending drama, Oilers CEO Cal McNair announced after the final game that Lovie Smith became the second coach in about a year to be fired by the team, which ousted David Culley last January.

On his way out the door, Smith responded to questions about the draft consequence of winning his final game, instead of tanking for the No. 1 pick.

“This is an option that I had,” Smith said. “So, you’re saying, ‘Hey guys, play in this last game, all that you’ve been working for your life, you play to win, forget that. Lose the game on purpose.’ Like, that will be a hard one to get by. They won’t expect me to say that. I didn’t. What we work on each week, our game plan, has been to win the game. It’s kind of simple as that. That’s what we follow through on the day.”

Regardless, it is debatable if the Oilers lost anything of major value by falling to No. 2.  This draft has a lot of talent and the difference among the first three or four picks doesn’t seem that dramatic at this time. As always, history may say otherwise.

Quarterbacks are always a hot commodity and NFL Draft Scout has them at No. 1, 2 and five. The Bears may not be interested because Justin Fields seems to be a potential franchise caliber signal caller. The Bears have plenty of other needs, so maybe they will trade the spot for more picks.

As of January 24,  NFL Draft Scout’s top five rated players are: 1. QB Bryce Young, Alabama; 2. QB C. J. Stroud, Ohio State; 3. OLB Will Anderson Jr., Alabama (who was No. 1 from May 2022 until early January); 4. DT Jalen Carter, Georgia; and 5. QB Will Levis, Kentucky.

Another attractive offensive weapon is extraordinary Texas running back Bijan Johnson, who dropped from No. 6 to No. 8 this month. Running backs have been devalued for years because, among other things, their longevity is always a gamble. That said, Johnson is a complete back who has speed and power as a runner, is an excellent blocker and an outstanding receiver.  

Let’s take a look at the order of selection at the top of the 2023 draft. The first 18 are locked in and the rest will be determined by post season play.

We know this might be a good time for a mock draft, which are hugely popular despite their obvious lack of credibility. Yes they are fun and they are clickbait. But we will go with fact over fiction here. 

Clip and save for when we do start mock drafts and ask for yours, too. 

Here’s a look at the order, team needs and noteworthy free agents.

Below that is NFL Draft Scout’s top 100 rated players – a shopping list of sorts.

1. Chicago Bears (3-14)

Team needs: WR, OT, LB, DT, EDGE

Noteworthy free agents: RB David Montgomery, C Sam Mustipher, WR N’Keal Harry, WR Dante Pettis

2. Houston Texans (3-13-1)

Team needs: QB, OG, C, TE, LB, DL, EDGE

Noteworthy free agents: TE O.J. Howard, EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DL Rasheem Green, TE Jordan Akins

3. Arizona Cardinals (4-13)

Team needs: OG, C, EDGE, CB, LB, RB, OT

Noteworthy free agents: EDGE J.J. Watt, WR A.J. Green, OT Kelvin Beachum, CB Byron Murphy, C Rodney Hudson

4. Indianapolis Colts (4-12-1)

Team needs: QB, OT, CB, WR, EDGE, TE

Noteworthy free agents: EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, WR Parris Campbell, OG Matt Pryor, LB Bobby Okereke, E.J. Speed

5. Seattle Seahawks (via trade with 5-12 Broncos)

Team needs: C, S, LB, DT, WR, OG

Noteworthy free agents: QB Geno Smith, RB Rashaad Penny, DL Poona Ford, OG Phil Haynes, QB Drew Lock

6. Detroit Lions (via trade with 5-12 Rams)

Team needs: TE, CB, DL, OG, QB

Noteworthy free agents: WR DJ Chark, RB Jamaal Williams, LB Alex Anzalone, OG Evan Brown, CB Mike Hughes

7. Las Vegas Raiders (6-11)

Team needs: OT, OG, C, S, DL, LB

Noteworthy free agents: RB Josh Jacobs, CB Rock Ya-Sin, LB Denzel Perryman, WR Mack Hollins, EDGE Clelin Ferrell

8. Atlanta Falcons (7-10)

Team needs: QB, CB, LB, S, DT, EDGE

Noteworthy free agents: OT Kaleb McGary, WR Olamide Zaccheaus, EDGE Lorenzo Carter, LB Rashaan Evans

9. Carolina Panthers (7-10)

Team needs: QB, CB, EDGE, WR, C

Noteworthy free agents: QB Sam Darnold, DL Matthew Ioannidis, C Bradley Bozeman, LB Cory Littleton

10. Philadelphia Eagles (via trade with 7-10 Saints)

Team needs: CB, RB, S, LB, WR

Noteworthy free agents: DL Javon Hargrave, CB James Bradberry, RB Miles Sanders, C Jason Kelce, DL Fletcher Cox

11. Tennessee Titans (7-10)

Team needs: OT, OG, WR, TE, LB

Noteworthy free agents: TE Austin Hooper, OG Nate Davis, TE Geoff Swaim, LB David Long, DL Teair Tart

12. Houston Texans (via trade with 7-10 Browns)

Team needs: QB, OG, C, TE, LB, DL, EDGE

Noteworthy free agents: TE O.J. Howard, EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DL Rasheem Green, TE Jordan Akins

13. New York Jets (7-10)

Team needs: OG, OT, TE, LB, S

Noteworthy free agents: RB James Robinson, C Connor McGovern, QB Joe Flacco, DL Sheldon Rankins, OT George Fant

14. New England Patriots (8-9)

Team needs: OT, TE, WR, LB, EDGE

Noteworthy free agents: OT Isaiah Wynn, RB Damien Harris, CB Myles Bryant, CB Jonathan Jones, WR Jakobi Meyers

15. Green Bay Packers (8-9)

Team needs: WR, TE, S, DT, EDGE, OG

Noteworthy free agents: WR Allen Lazard, TE Robert Tonyan Jr., OT Elgton Jenkins, S Adrian Amos, DL Dean Lowry

16. Washington Commanders (8-8-1)

Team needs: QB, C, CB, OG, TE, LB

Noteworthy free agents: DL Daron Payne, QB Taylor Heinicke, OG Wes Schweitzer, LB Cole Holcomb, OG Trai Turner

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8)

Team needs: OT, CB, LB, DL, QB

Noteworthy free agents: DL Larry Ogunjobi, LB Devin Bush, DL Chris Wormley, CB Cam Sutton, QB Mason Rudolph

18. Detroit Lions (9-8)

Team needs: TE, CB, DL, OG, QB

Noteworthy free agents: WR DJ Chark, RB Jamaal Williams, LB Alex Anzalone, OG Evan Brown, CB Mike Hughes

(Teams below are in approximate order, which will be solidified by the results post-season play)

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)

Team needs: S, LB, OT, WR, DT

Noteworthy free agents: QB Tom Brady, LB Lavonte David, DL Akiem Hicks, WR Julio Jones, CB Sean Bunting, S Mike Edwards

20. Seattle Seahawks (9-8)

Team needs: C, S, LB, DT, WR, OG

Noteworthy free agents: QB Geno Smith, RB Rashaad Penny, DL Poona Ford, OG Phil Haynes, QB Drew Lock

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)

Team needs: TE, OT, CB, S, DT

Noteworthy free agents: TE Evan Engram, OT Jawaan Taylor, EDGE Arden Key, EDGE Dawuane Smoot, CB Tre Herndon

22. Pick forfeited by Dolphins (9-8)

23. New York Giants (9-7-1)

Team needs: CB, WR, C, OG, S, LB, DT

Noteworthy free agents: QB Daniel Jones, RB Saquon Barkley, DL Dalvin Tomlinson, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Darius Slayton

24. Baltimore Ravens (10-7)

Team needs: WR, OG, CB, LB, EDGE

Noteworthy free agents: LB Roquan Smith, CB Marcus Peters, QB Lamar Jackson, OT Ja’Wuan James, CB Kyle Fuller

25. Los Angeles Chargers (10-7)

Team needs: OG, OT, DT, TE, EDGE

Noteworthy free agents: DL Jerry Tillery, S Nasir Adderley, RB Sony Michel, LB Drue Tranquill, TE Donald Parham Jr.

26. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)

Team needs: CB, OG, WR, S, DT, LB, EDGE

Noteworthy free agents: TE Dalton Schultz, RB Tony Pollard, OT Terence Steele, WR Noah Brown, LB Leighton Vander Esch

27. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)

Team needs: OG, OT, CB, TE, DT

Noteworthy free agents: S Jessie Bates III, TE Hayden Hurst, CB Eli Apple, S Vonn Bell, RB Samaje Perine

28. Minnesota Vikings (13-4)

Team needs: CB, WR, OG, LB, S

Noteworthy free agents: TE Irv Smith Jr., RB Alexander Mattison, CB Patrick Peterson, C Garrett Bradbury, WR Olabisi Johnson

29. Denver Broncos (via trade with 13-4 49ers)

Team needs: C, OG, OT, CB, LB, QB

Noteworthy free agents: RB Melvin Gordon, OG Dalton Risner, OT Cameron Fleming, S Kareem Jackson, DL Dre’Mont Jones

30. Buffalo Bills (13-3)

Team needs: TE, OG, C, DT, S

Noteworthy free agents: S Jordan Poyer, LB Tremaine Edmunds, QB Case Keenum, OG Rodger Saffold

31. Kansas City Chiefs (14-3)

Team needs: OT, WR, TE, EDGE, S, DT

Noteworthy free agents: OT Orlando Brown Jr., WR Mecole Hardman, WR Juju Smith-Schuster, S Juan Thornhill

32. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)

Team needs: CB, RB, S, LB, WR

Noteworthy free agents: DL Javon Hargrave, CB James Bradberry, RB Miles Sanders, C Jason Kelce, DL Fletcher Cox

(Below are teams without a first-round pick)

 Cleveland Browns (7-10)

Team needs: DT, LB, WR, EDGE, S

Noteworthy free agents: OT Jack Conklin, RB Kareem Hunt, EDGE Jadeveon Clowney, LB Deion Jones, QB Jacoby Brissett

Los Angeles Rams (5-12)

Team needs: OG, TE, EDGE, CB, DT, QB

Noteworthy free agents: QB Baker Mayfield, S Taylor Rapp, DL A’Shawn Robinson, CB Troy Hill, RB Darrell Henderson, DL Greg Gaines

Miami Dolphins (9-8)

Team needs: OT, OG, TE, RB, LB

Noteworthy free agents: TE Mike Gesicki, QB Teddy Bridgewater, RB Raheem Mostert, RB Jeff Wilson, EDGE Trey Flowers

New Orleans Saints (7-10)

Team needs: QB, OG, WR, RB, S, DT

Noteworthy free agents: DL David Onyemata, EDGE Marcus Davenport, WR Jarvis Landry, RB Mark Ingram, QB Andy Dalton

San Francisco 49ers (13-4)

Team needs: C, OG, S, DT, WR

Noteworthy free agents: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, OT Mike McGlinchey, CB Emmanuel Moseley, EDGE Charles Omenihu

NFL Draft Scout’s shopping list, the top 100

Rank. Player, Class, Position, College, Ht., Wt.,  Proj. Rd

1.  *Bryce Young, Jr, QB, Alabama, 6-0, 194, 1

2.  C.J. Stroud, rSo, QB, Ohio State, 6-3, 218, 1

3.  *Will Anderson Jr., Jr, OLB, Alabama, 6-4, 243, 1

4.  Jalen Carter, Jr, DT, Georgia, 6-3, 300, 1

5.  *Myles Murphy, Jr, DE, Clemson, 6-5, 275, 1

6.  *Bijan Robinson, Jr, RB, Texas, 6-0, 222, 1

7.  Quentin Johnston, Jr, WR, Texas Christian, 6-4, 215, 1

8.  *Michael Mayer, Jr, TE, Notre Dame, 6-5, 265, 1

9.  Will Levis, rSr, QB, Kentucky, 6-3, 232, 1

10.  Paris Johnson Jr., Jr, OT, Ohio State, 6-6, 310, 1

11.  Broderick Jones, rSo, OG, Georgia, 6-4, 310, 1

12.  Tyree Wilson, rSr, DE, Texas Tech, 6-6, 275, 1

13.  *Peter Skoronski, Jr, OG, Northwestern, 6-4, 315, 1

14.  Kelee Ringo, rSo, CB, Georgia, 6-2, 210, 1

15.  *Christian Gonzalez, rSo, CB, Oregon, 6-2, 201, 1

16.  *Bryan Bresee, rSo, DT, Clemson, 6-5, 305, 1

17.  Joey Porter Jr., rJr, CB, Penn State, 6-2, 198, 1

18.  *Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jr, WR, Ohio State, 6-1, 200, 1

19.  *Anthony Richardson, rSo, QB, Florida, 6-4, 232, 1

20.  Jordan Battle, Sr, SS, Alabama, 6-1, 206, 1

21.  OCyrus Torrence, Sr, OG, Florida, 6-5, 347, 1

22.  Devon Witherspoon, Sr, CB, Illinois, 6-0, 180, 1

23.  *Trenton Simpson, Jr, OLB, Clemson, 6-3, 240, 1

24.  *Jalin Hyatt, Jr, WR, Tennessee, 6-0, 185, 1

25.  Isaiah Foskey, rJr, DE, Notre Dame, 6-5, 265, 1

26.  *Emmanuel Forbes, Jr, CB, Mississippi State, 6-0, 180, 1

27.  *Tuli Tuipulotu, Jr, DT, Southern California, 6-4, 290, 1

28.  Jaelyn Duncan, rSr, OT, Maryland, 6-6, 320, 1

29.  Jordan Addison, Jr, WR, Southern California, 5-11, 175, 1

30.  *Lukas Van Ness, rSo, DE, Iowa, 6-4, 275, 1

31.  Steve Avila, rSr, OG, Texas Christian, 6-3, 330, 1

32.  *Josh Downs, Jr, WR, North Carolina, 5-10, 175, 1

33.  *Drew Sanders, Jr, OLB, Arkansas, 6-4, 233, 1-2

34.  Darnell Washington, Jr, TE, Georgia, 6-6, 270, 1-2

35.  Jack Campbell, rJr, ILB, Iowa, 6-4, 246, 1-2

36.  Christopher Smith, rSr, FS, Georgia, 5-10, 195, 1-2

37.  *Clark Phillips III, rSo, CB, Utah, 5-09, 183, 1-2

38.  Siaki Ika, rJr, DT, Baylor, 6-3, 358, 1-2

39.  Will McDonald IV, rSr, DE, Iowa State, 6-3, 236, 1-2

40.  Zach Charbonnet, Sr, RB, UCLA, 6-1, 220, 1-2

41.  Cody Mauch, rSr, OT, North Dakota State, 6-5, 303, 2

42.  *Jahmyr Gibbs, Jr, RB, Alabama, 5-10, 200, 2

43.  Cam Smith, rJr, CB, South Carolina, 6-0, 188, 2

44.  Cedric Tillman, rSr, WR, Tennessee, 6-3, 215, 2

45.  *Brian Branch, Jr, FS, Alabama, 6-0, 193, 2

46.  Derick Hall, Sr, OLB, Auburn, 6-3, 256, 2

47.  *Gervon Dexter, Jr, DT, Florida, 6-5, 312, 2

48.  *BJ Ojulari, Jr, OLB, LSU, 6-2, 250, 2

49.  Olusegun Oluwatimi, rSr, C, Michigan, 6-3, 307, 2

50.  JL Skinner, rSr, SS, Boise State, 6-4, 220, 2

51.  *Noah Sewell, rSo, ILB, Oregon, 6-2, 253, 2

52.  Deonte Banks, rJr, CB, Maryland, 6-1, 205, 2

53.  Mike Morris, rJr, DE, Michigan, 6-5, 292, 2

54.  Keondre Coburn, rSr, DT, Texas, 6-2, 344, 2

55.  Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Jr, DE, Kansas State, 6-3, 255, 2

56.  Ryan Hayes, rSr, OT, Michigan, 6-6, 305, 2

57.  *Antonio Johnson, Jr, FS, Texas AM, 6-3, 195, 2

58.  Zak Zinter, Jr, OG, Michigan, 6-5, 315, 2

59.  *Kayshon Boutte, Jr, WR, LSU, 6-0, 205, 2

60.  Nick Broeker, Sr, OG, Mississippi, 6-4, 315, 2

61.  Jermaine Burton, Jr, WR, Alabama, 6-0, 200, 2

62.  Xavier Hutchinson, rSr, WR, Iowa State, 6-2, 205, 2

63.  Dalton Kincaid, rSr, TE, Utah, 6-4, 240, 2

64.  *Zach Evans, Jr, RB, Mississippi, 5-11, 215, 2

65.  Rashee Rice, Sr, WR, Southern Methodist, 6-1, 203, 2-3

66.  Sam LaPorta, Sr, TE, Iowa, 6-4, 249, 2-3

67.  Andre Carter II, Sr, DE, Army, 6-6, 260, 2-3

68.  Matthew Bergeron, rJr, OT, Syracuse, 6-5, 322, 2-3

69.  Ricky Stromberg, Sr, C, Arkansas, 6-3, 313, 2-3

70.  Tucker Kraft, rJr, TE, South Dakota State, 6-5, 255, 2-3

71.  Tyrique Stevenson, rJr, CB, Miami, 6-0, 214, 2-3

72.  *Nick Herbig, Jr, OLB, Wisconsin, 6-2, 228, 2-3

73.  *Anton Harrison, Jr, OT, Oklahoma, 6-5, 315, 2-3

74.  Blake Freeland, rJr, OT, Brigham Young, 6-8, 305, 2-3

75.  Hendon Hooker, rSr, QB, Tennessee, 6-3, 218, 2-3

76.  Kenny McIntosh, Sr, RB, Georgia, 6-0, 210, 2-3

77.  Jordan McFadden, rSr, OG, Clemson, 6-2, 305, 2-3

78.  John Michael Schmitz, rSr, C, Minnesota, 6-4, 320, 2-3

79.  *Devon Achane, Jr, RB, Texas AM, 5-09, 185, 2-3

80.  Julius Brents, rSr, CB, Kansas State, 6-3, 202, 2-3

81.  Henry Too Too, Sr, ILB, Alabama, 6-1, 228, 2-3

82.  Braeden Daniels, rJr, OG, Utah, 6-4, 297, 2-3

83.  Zach Harrison, Sr, DE, Ohio State, 6-5, 272, 2-3

84.  Nolan Smith, Sr, OLB, Georgia, 6-3, 235, 2-3

85.  Zay Flowers, Sr, WR, Boston College, 5-09, 172, 2-3

86.  Jammie Robinson, rJr, FS, Florida State, 5-11, 203, 3

87.  A.T. Perry, rJr, WR, Wake Forest, 6-4, 205, 3

88.  DeCorian Clark, Sr, WR, Texas-San Antonio, 6-2, 210, 3

89.  Keeanu Benton, Sr, DT, Wisconsin, 6-4, 315, 3

90.  Dontay Demus Jr., rSr, WR, Maryland, 6-3, 215, 3

91.  Darnell Wright, Sr, OT, Tennessee, 6-5, 335, 3

92.  Keion White, rSr, DE, Georgia Tech, 6-4, 286, 3

93.  Chase Brown, Sr, RB, Illinois, 5-10, 205, 3

94.  Charlie Jones, rSr, WR, Purdue, 6-0, 188, 3

95.  *DeWayne McBride, Jr, RB, Alabama-Birmingham, 5-10, 215, 3

96.  DeMarvion Overshown, rSr, OLB, Texas, 6-3, 220, 3

97.  Nick Hampton, rSr, OLB, Appalachian State, 6-2, 235, 3

98.  *Tanner McKee, Jr, QB, Stanford, 6-6, 230, 3

99.  Andrei Iosivas, Sr, WR, Princeton, 6-2, 200, 3

100.  Luke Musgrave, rJr, TE, Oregon State, 6-6, 250, 3

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