Bears mock draft: Ryan Poles strengthens trenches after Justin Fields, Keenan Allen trade

By | March 18, 2024

Bears mock draft: Ryan Poles strengthens trenches after Justin Fields, Keenan Allen trades originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bears were one of the busiest teams in the NFL this week as they made two high-profile trades and continued to replenish their roster through free agency. Sending Justin Fields to the Steelers and signing star wide receiver Keenan Allen from the Chargers sent shockwaves around the league, but lesser-heralded moves like signing center Coleman Shelton could be just as impactful come the regular season.

Given everything that’s happened, it makes sense that the Bears’ draft priorities have changed. Namely: how do they acquire more choices?

As things stand, the Bears only have four selections this year. But GM Ryan Poles is no stranger to drafting daily deals, so that could change. Here’s a trial version where it’s as active as ever.

As always, this mock draft is not an attempt to predict what the Bears will actually do when they are back in the War Room next season. That is impossible. It’s also not meant to be a recommendation for what the Bears should do. This mock draft is intended as a fun way to discuss wild ideas, dig into some of the intriguing college prospects this season, and project how those players could fit in Chicago.

The Fields trade ensures the Bears will draft a rookie QB. The Bears still need to see Williams’ medical information and spend more time with him in private meetings. Unless there are any surprises, he will be the pick. Williams’ college tape is as good as it gets.

Click here for all our coverage of the QB phenomenon.

TRADE! BEARS SHIPPING NO. 9 CHOICE, 2025 SIXTH ROUND CHOICE FOR SAINTS FOR NOS. 14, 45, 168 CHOICES.

With plenty of top talent still available, Poland is taking the opportunity to move back a few spots to earn back a few picks. The Saints sign right tackle Taliese Fuaga to better protect Derek Carr.

TRADE! BEARS SHIPPING NO. 14 CHOOSE DOLPHINS FOR NO. 21, 55 CHOICES

Brock Bowers is still on the board and seducing Poland. But with Gerald Everett on board, the Bears feel good enough about their tight end room to add another second-round pick.

NO. 21: LAIATU LATU – EDGE – UCLA

Defensive end is the biggest need for the Bears entering the draft (outside of quarterback), so they use their second pick in the first round to add a guy who put up big numbers in college. Scouts love how Latu uses exceptional technique to throw blocks, and note his fast playing speed. Latu never gives up on a play, which is a prerequisite for Eberflus’ program. Plus, Latu can kick inside to run over the tackle or out of the b-gap, and the Bears like that kind of versatility. Latu’s 26.2% win rate on pass rushes was No. 2 in the country among players with at least 100 pass rush snaps. Over the past two seasons, he had 23.5 sacks, 34 TFLs and five forced fumbles.

NO. 45: ADISA ISAAC – EDGE – PENN STATE

The Bears had a wide receiver in mind with this pick, but a run at the position led to a change in plans. So Poland double dips with a second athletic defensive end. Isaac is known as a great run defender who sets the edge. Last season, his average tackle depth of 0.7 yards ranked 12th in the nation among edge players with at least 10 defensive tackles. His 10.7% stop rate in the run game was 19th best among players with at least 100 run defense snaps. Isaac can also pressure the QB. Since 2022, he has 11.5 sacks and 27 TFL.

NO. 55: RUKE ORHORHORO – DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – CLEMSON

With Justin Jones heading to the Cardinals, the Bears need to replenish the interior of the line. Orhorhoro doesn’t get the same attention as Johnny Newton or T’Vondre Sweat, but he checks several boxes for Matt Eberflus and the Bears’ defense. First, he’s just as effective at defending the run as he is at rushing the passer. Secondly, he has a good motor and plays in pursuit. If Orhorhoro is not the first player on the ball, he is usually not far behind and does not stop playing. Finally, he is a versatile player who can play almost anywhere on the defensive line. For the most part, Orhorhoro was in the b-gap for the Tigers, but he played nose tackle and even defensive end. Eberflus likes players he can move around the formation and appreciates the flexibility these types of players bring.

NO. 75: MALACHI CORLEY – WIDE RECEIVER – WESTERN KENTUCKY

The Bears have searched for explosive wide receivers over the past two drafts without much immediate success, but with DJ Moore and Keenan Allen both in tow, the team can afford to give it another try. Draft experts note that Corley is a bit raw as a route runner, but he is a certified playmaker with the ball in his hands. In three seasons at Western Kentucky, Corley caught 253 passes for 2,968 yards and 29 touchdowns. He led the nation with 975 yards after the catch and 40 forced missed tackles. At this year’s Senior Bowl, which we know the Bears love to gather information about, Corley was named the national team’s best wide receiver by his DB teammates.

NO. 122: ROGER ROSENGARTEN – RIGHT APPROACH – WASHINGTON

The Bears seemingly have their starting tackles in order with Braxton Jones and Darnell Wright, but they could use some more depth. Rosengarten possesses an elite “Relative Athletic Score” thanks to his excellent agility, explosion and speed. That’s exactly what the Bears want in linemen. In his two years as a starter for the Huskies, he never gave up a sack per PFF.

NO. 168: LUKE MCCAFFERY – WIDE RECEIVER – RICE

McCaffery has an exemplary football history and follows in the footsteps of his brother Christian and his father Ed. He is also an excellent athlete in his own right. He has good size (6’2″, 198 lbs), great hands (4.1% drop rate, 60.7% contested catch rate per PFF) and impressive production (129 catches, 1,715 yards, 19 TDs since 2022). All of this is even more remarkable when you consider that he only started playing the position two years ago. McCaffery began his college career at quarterback at Nebraska in 2019 and left for Rice in 2021, where he once again competed for a starting QB job before ultimately making the move to WR in 2022.

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