In the 11-minute video, there was a section that displayed the “Critical Factors” the Bears value at each respective position group.
Although the traits listed are not groundbreaking in any way, it’s interesting to see what this Bears front office and coaching staff value to create their overall consensus board for each position.
So, what players in the 2023 NFL Draft fit what general manager Ryan Poles and the rest of this coaching staff are looking for?
For the wide receiver position, the critical factors are “release, route running/separation and hands/ball skills.”
There are a few wide receivers in this draft class that would be an ideal fit for the Bears. At the top of the list is Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Regarded as the best route runner in this class, Smith-Njigba consistently found holes in the defense and gave his quarterback safe windows to throw into. During his time at Ohio State, he only had six drops and caught 110 passes for 1,698 yards and 10 touchdowns.
USC’s Jordan Addison is another prospect that fits the Bears’ critical factors. At Pitt, Addison did have an issue with drops, totaling 21 in two seasons, but he drastically reduced that number to just two while he was with the Trojans. The 5-foot-11, 173-pound receiver is also a skilled route runner and knows how to set opposing defenders up. Just watch his tape against UCLA. It was his most productive game last season as he caught 11 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.
Another wide receiver that is most likely going to be a Day 2 pick is Michigan State’s Jayden Reed. The 5-foot-10, 187-pound playmaker caught 203 passes for 2,866 yards and 26 touchdowns in his collegiate career. He showed precise route running and the ability to get open throughout the Senior Bowl practices.
One last mention for a player that doesn’t fit would be TCU’s Quentin Johnston. He still has work to do when it comes to running routes and is definitely not as polished as the other three players mentioned. He also had eight drops last season and had a tendency to let the ball get into his body.
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In a defensive end, the Bears are looking for players that possess “explosion/initial quickness, pass rush ability, pursuit motor/violence, hands/punch/shed and durability.”
The “pass rush ability” is interesting because a potential prospect doesn’t need to be a “polished pass rusher” to fit what the Bears are looking for at the position. They just need to have the traits and skillset to develop into a consistent pass rusher.
One player that could be there at No. 9 that has these critical factors is Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness. His speed to power immediately stands out on film. Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski knows about that first hand. The motor he displays on a play-to-play basis also would translate well with the “H.I.T.S” principle Bears coach Matt Eberflus expects out of his players. The pass rush ability is there with Van Ness, but he does need to work on some additional moves other than his bull rush and rip technique.
A Day 2 player that embodies these particular traits is Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey. He has good burst off the line, plays with a high motor and was durable for the Fighting Irish, starting and playing in every game the last two seasons. He does need to continue developing his pass rush moves, but he has traits that the Bears could work with.
The Bears have three critical factors for the offensive tackle position: “pass pro ability, length and foot quickness.”
This prospect that immediately comes to mind is Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. At 6-foot-6, 313 pounds and an arm length of 36 1/8″, Johnson fits the physical profile the Bears covet in an offensive tackle. But he also has the foot speed and ability to block defensive ends one-on-one in pass pro. He did have some issues with allowing pass rushers to get to his inside shoulder, but Johnson still checks all the boxes.
Georgia’s Broderick Jones also stands out as a potential candidate for Chicago. He doesn’t have the height and arm length (6-foot-5 and 34 3/4″) that Johnson has, but he still fits what the Bears want at the position. His pass blocking still needs work, but he has a lot of potential and has the foot speed that would be ideal in the outside zone scheme the Bears run.
Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski fits the pass pro ability in the critical factors, and he is arguably the best out of any offensive lineman in this class, but his arm length (32 1/4″) is a red flag.
Even though the Bears have critical factors they ideally want at certain positions, that doesn’t mean the team won’t draft a player that doesn’t check off all the boxes. Certain players may not be the most polished pass rushers or have the best route running right now, but those can be skills that can develop with the right coaching.
Also, positional value and the overall pick will factor in to who the Bears will take in the 2023 NFL Draft, which is now just 15 days away.
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