Tomorrow is the draft, but today is the day.
Yes, after months of work, we are finally revealing our CHGO Bears 100 — a comprehensive draft board that was specifically curated for the Chicago Bears’ needs and schemes.
The entire CHGO Bears 100 database can be viewed and analyzed by CHGO Diehards here or Diehards can just opt for one easy-to-read page with notes on all 100 players.
I want to begin this week’s Bears Things newsletter by explaining how we landed on our top 10 players:
1. EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama — Not much suspense here and pretty much zero chance he’ll be a Bear. Jalen Carter was in the running for the top spot, but his off-the-field issues knocked him down the board. Anderson ended up as our unanimous choice atop the CHGO Bears 100.
2. OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern — You can debate if he’s a tackle or a guard, but there’s no question he’s our No. 1 offensive lineman in the draft.
3. IDL Jalen Carter, Georgia — Carter was not a unanimous choice as our top interior defensive lineman. Despite the off-the-field concerns, the CHGO crew decided we’re comfortable with the Bears drafting him if he’s still available at No. 9.
4. EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech — Wilson is EDGE2 on our board and it’s not really that close. The next closest pass rusher is Myles Murphy, who landed at No. 12 overall.
5. RB Bijan Robinson, Texas — Yes, he’s a running back. No, you can’t deny his talent. This would be a luxury pick, but also take the Bears’ offense to the next level and immediately help Justin Fields.
6. CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon — The size gives Gonzalez a slight advantage over the next guy…
7. CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois — The entire CHGO crew loves both of these cornerbacks and only one point separated them in our ranking process.
8. IDL Calijah Kancey, Pitt — Surprised to see Kancey this high? I am. But Corey Wootton and Nicholas Moreano love him. Wootton even has him higher than Carter. I can’t wait to debate this one over the next few days with Woot.
9. OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State — It is fitting Johnson Jr. ended up at No. 9 because his length and athleticism make him the perfect Ryan Poles pick.
10. OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee — Interestingly, both Wootton and I had Wright ranked ahead of Paris Johnson Jr.
So there’s a quick look at our top 10, but you can view the entire CHGO Bears 100 — which includes scouting reports, video breakdowns, highlights and more for every single player — right here. Not a Diehard yet? Today might be the best day to sign up.
Thank you for supporting this major project and I look forward to debating the names with you over the next few days. We’ll talk about the entire CHGO Bears 100 on today’s CHGO Bears Podcast, which will be live on YouTube at noon.
Join Us At Joe’s on Weed on Thursday and Friday!
🔮 Annual Bold Predictions
This is an exercise I always have fun with and sometimes actually get right. Jordan Love getting drafted by the Packers in 2020 is probably the best example. So here are a few bold predictions for the weekend, including a similar vibe with the first one:
1. One of the NFC North teams makes a big move Thursday for a quarterback. And no, I’m not talking about the Bears. I’m just not convinced the Lions are really going to roll with Jared Goff for the foreseeable future. And I’m not convinced second-year Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is going to keep running it back with Kirk Cousins instead of landing his own guy. And you already know I’m not convinced the Packers really love Jordan Love. Maybe one of them ends up with Hendon Hooker? I’m looking at you, Vikings.
2. Only three quarterbacks get drafted before the Bears’ pick at No. 9. I just don’t view this as a special quarterback group. And yes, teams get desperate, but usually one of the QBs fall. Just ask Justin Fields, who fell to No. 11 after three quarterbacks were drafted ahead of him. Maybe it’s Will Levis or maybe it’s C.J. Stroud, but one will fall out of the top eight and that could put the Bears in position to trade back.
3. OK, here it is: The Bears draft Darnell Wright. Maybe it’s at No. 9 or maybe it’s after a trade back, but this is ultimately the selection I’ve landed on. For one, I think there’s a decent chance Peter Skoronski and Paris Johnson Jr. are gone before No. 9. And if you haven’t noticed, there are not a ton of great offensive tackle options out there. I’m not as high on Broderick Jones as most are, and Wright has grown on me throughout the draft process. He would be an immediate upgrade at right tackle and allow Braxton Jones to continue to develop on the left side.
🐻 H.I.T.S. Fits
While compiling and writing out 100 draft profiles over the last few months, I made a point of identifying certain players who appear to fit Bears head coach Matt Eberflus’ H.I.T.S. principle, as well as the front office’s emphasis on length and athleticism.
Here are three names to keep an eye on, specifically in Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday night:
CB Darius Rush, South Carolina (No. 37 on CHGO Bears 100) — Rush has ideal speed and length and posted the fifth-highest Relative Athletic Score (RAS) among cornerbacks in the draft. He has great character and coaches love him. He doesn’t commit penalties and he started taking the ball away at a higher rate in 2022. A name to watch.
EDGE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame (No. 51 on CHGO Bears 100) — Another player with a high RAS score, Foskey put up enormous production at Notre Dame and embodies the HITS principle with his relentlessness.
S Ji’Ayir Brown, Penn State (No. 69 on CHGO Bears 100) — If the Bears liked Jaquan Brisker last year, they will like Brown this year. Brown and Brisker are actually very close friends after playing together both in junior college and at Penn State. But Brown took over Brisker’s leadership role in 2022 and plays a lot like him, despite being a little smaller. He has great hands to intercept the football and great return ability after the catch. Safety isn’t exactly the biggest need for the Bears, but they could probably land Brown in the third round and immediately play him on special teams with an eye on pairing him with Brisker in the future.
I hope you enjoyed this (FREE) pre-draft edition of my Bears Things newsletter. Next week’s annual post-draft breakdown will be available for CHGO Diehards only, so please consider purchasing a membership if you haven’t already. Plus, doing so will get you a discount on attending our draft shows this week at Joe’s Bar on Weed St, a free t-shirt and much more!
We have so much planned for you this weekend. Make sure you’re subscribed to the CHGO Sports YouTube channel so you don’t miss a thing!