The 2023 (Essential) Off-Season Positional Checklist

| January 11th, 2023

The Chicago Bears can improve at just about every position on the field, as Data acutely discussed yesterday. They likely need a new center, additional corner, off-ball linebacker help, etc. But to be a consistent playoff team, you need the essentials, and the Bears are seriously lacking in those departments.

[  ] Backup Quarterback

This is the least of the essentials, but still essential. Justin Fields is going to play football the way he plays football, and that style comes with risk. There is risk for every quarterback but even more so for those who can wreck games with their legs. Trevor Siemian is a solid option off the bench but his entrance into a game forces the Bears to alter their style of play and that seems counterproductive. This is not a position where the Bears should spend huge financial resources; you’re more than likely to struggle no matter who your backup quarterback is. But I’d like to see them take a late-round shot in the draft on a running quarterback with arm upside. (Stetson Bennett in the 7th round.) If nothing else, they should never be in a position where someone like Nathan Peterman is starting football games for them.

[  ] Pass Rush

Does this really require explanation on a football (and sometimes cinema) blog? If you can’t rush the passer, you can’t win in the modern NFL. Hell, if you couldn’t rush the passer, you couldn’t win in the old-timey NFL either. A scout friend of mine said this of Alabama’s Will Anderson, “I wouldn’t trade back if there’s a chance I can get this kid. He changes a franchise.” Is that nonsense? Probably. The college-to-NFL projection is conjecture. (I think I am about to coin a term: projecture.) But if Anderson does remind NFL folks of Khalil Mack and Von Miller, that’s a projecture worth the risk.

[   ] Interior Defensive Line

The run defense in Chicago this season was a bit on the pathetic side, and this is a historically a position that can be addressed in free agency, as teams redirect their resources to flashier roster spots. The name you’ll likely hear? D.C. DT Daron Payne. At only 25 years old, and with a load of talent, he fills the prescription. If the Bears wanted to flood the position, they could also look at the underrated Dalvin Tomlinson in New Jersey or Taven Bryan in Cleveland.

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