Who the “Experts” Have the Bears Taking at Nine (With My Prediction!)

| April 21st, 2023

There is no question that Ryan Poles prefers not to make a selection at nine. But operating under the assumption he’ll have no other choice, here is a survey of who folks out there believe he’ll take.

  • Peter Schrager at NFL.com: Christian Gonzalez. “This strong, smart, speedy corner out of Oregon (via Colorado) is a gamer. The Bears have so many needs, and snagging a top cover man with the ninth overall choice makes them better tomorrow.”
  • Charles McDonald, Yahoo: Peter Skoronski.
  • Mel Kiper, ESPN: Peter Skoronski. “I’ve gone back and forth on which offensive lineman the Bears will take here, but Skoronski is the best on my board (No. 8 overall), even though I like him a little more as a guard…Chicago needs a right tackle, which is why I projected Darnell Wright here in my two-round mock. I’d be confident in Skoronski’s ability to learn the position.”
  • Ryan Wilson, CBS: Paris Johnson Jr. “… since this draft class is deeper at EDGE than OT, Chicago takes Paris Johnson Jr. here. He played LT last season at Ohio State and was the RG during the ’21 season. Protecting Justin Fields is Priority No. 1, and they can circle back at pick No. 53 (or even 61) to get that pass rusher.”
  • Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA Today: Paris Johnson Jr.
  • Arjun Menon and Brad Spielberger, PFF: Paris Johnson Jr. “Unless Jalen Carter is still on the board, the Bears should pivot back to offense with their first pick and reunite Fields with tackle Paris Johnson Jr., who allowed a 4.4% pressure rate on true pass sets in 2022, good for 20th in the FBS despite it being his first year starting at left tackle. Johnson played right tackle in 2021, which is where Chicago has its biggest hole along the offensive line. The Bears also deploy the popularized outside-zone-based rushing attack, and Johnson’s 85.5 run-blocking grade on outside-zone runs in 2022 ranked sixth among FBS tackles.”
  • WalterFootball: Darnell Wright. “Darnell Wright didn’t allow a single sack to Hendon Hooker last year.” (Side note: Don’t click that link unless you want to ruin your phone/computer. WalterFootball is the reason I’ll never let ads overwhelm this site. What’s the point? He’s rendered his site unnavigable for a few bucks.)
  • Justin Melo, Draft Network: TRADE! Darnell Wright (at 17 overall).
  • Ryan McCrystal, Sharp Football Analysis: Broderick Jones.
  • Unattributed, Tankathon: Paris Johnson Jr.
  • Danny Kelly, The Ringer: Jalen Carter. “Carter’s slight fall stops at no. 9, giving the Bears a high-upside building block for their interior defensive line. The former Georgia star brings three-down potential as a pocket-collapsing pass rusher and difference-making run defender.”
  • Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News (which I was thrilled to find out still exists): Peter Skoronski. “Skoronski, who had a great Combine from his running through his smooth positional drills, can deliver as their immediate starting left tackle with his smooth quickness and athleticism on the edge.”
  • Seth Trachtman, YardBarker: Paris Johnson Jr.

So, it seems there is a general consensus around the world of the Draft Industrial Complex that the Bears are going to find a starter for their offensive line with this pick.  I agree. The Bears showed us the team they want to be on offense in 2022. They want to maul opponents with their rushing attack and utilizing the passing game off that run. But when the run game wasn’t dominant, the passing game was nonexistent. That’s because they couldn’t protect their quarterback on obvious passing downs.

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Lance Zierlein of NFL.com Looks at the Right Tackle Prospects at the Top of the Draft

| March 24th, 2023

What I like about Lance Zierlein’s pre-draft work at NFL.com is the breadth of it. He writes detailed assessments of hundreds of prospects, and those assessments become essential sources for football writers over the next month. While I remain unconvinced the Bears will succumb to need and select an OT with the ninth pick in the draft, Zierlein’s analysis makes it clear there will be very good options available should they go that route.

Peter Skoronski, Northwestern

Comp: Zack Martin


Skoronski spent his college years manning the quarterback’s blindside at tackle, but the body type and skill set are begging for a move to guard, where he can play his best football as a pro. He’s broad across his upper and lower body, but he has short arms. Skoronski plays with a deft blend of technique, feel and power as a run blocker and is capable of thriving in any run-blocking scheme. His lack of length can be a problem against stab-and-charge bull rushers and edge speed, but a move inside would mitigate those concerns. If Skoronski can get his protection anchor sorted out, he has the run-blocking talent to become an instant starter and a top-flight guard.


  • Sets out with explosive kick-slide into his diagonal sets.
  • Uses proactive hands to attack first.
  • Excellent footwork and hand usage to counter and collect twists.
  • Arches back and unlocks hips to access his rush anchor.
  • Comes off the snap with low pads and explosive lift into contact.
  • Races out of stance and into position for reach-block success.
  • Base stays wide and balanced throughout the rep.
  • Clear understanding of positioning and angles at the point of attack.
  • Textbook leg drive on double teams and kick-out blocks.
  • Washes down run defenders looking to shoot gaps.


  • Throws punch a tick late and from outside angles.
  • Needs to alter his pass sets and hand attacks to become less predictable.
  • Beaten by long-arm rush moves and driven into the pocket.
  • Average adjustments to second-level movements.
  • Can be beaten by side-stepping defender at point of attack.

Broderick Jones, Georgia

Comp: Andrew Thomas


Ultra-athletic tackle prospect with the size, length and potential to develop into a plus starter on the left side. Jones’ frame and technique both are in the developmental phase. His entry into block fits can be a little disjointed. He needs to improve his punch accuracy and timing to make the most of his length in pass protection. Jones is very talented at working into space and landing a block to help spring the running game. He has the nimble feet to mirror or recover against the rush. Jones isn’t a finished product, but the physical and athletic gifts allow for a projection as a good, long-time starter.

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Wednesday Lynx Package: Arlington Heights Traffic, Don’t Forget Paris & Moore(2Life)!

| March 22nd, 2023

We’re entering something of quiet period between the height of free agency and the draft, unless you’re someone who finds prospect visits and pro days fascinating. So, let’s see what is being discussed out there.

  • Next week, DBB will be holding our second annual pledge drive. With a full graduate school workload, this last year would have been near-impossible to execute on the site without the support from last year’s drive. Here’s hoping we have another successful week and can enthusiastically steer the ship into the lead-up to the draft.
  • SHOCKER! Arlington Heights residents are now worried that bringing the Bears to their neighborhood will create a “traffic nightmare”. Why are they worried? Because every single stadium built in a suburb creates a traffic nightmare. Go to Foxboro, or the Meadowlands, or Inglewood. Everyone arguing otherwise is kidding themselves.
  • ICYMI. Ryan Poles was convinced he could trade back twice in the first round, accruing an additional first pound pick in 2024. Instead, he took the Panthers offer, specifically because DJ Moore was in it. No brainer for Poles. Draft picks are rolling the dice and hoping for a six. Moore is an accomplished NFL wide receiver, a true top guy, that makes his club better immediately.
  • ACTUAL BEAR NEWS: New Mexico’s Department of Game and Fish is now hiring “bear huggers”. And yes, it’s as adorable as it sounds.
  • Teams are starting to leak their intentions when it comes to drafting Jalen Carter, but none of them should be believed. Carter is a tremendous talent, and he has a month of meetings to convince NFL franchises that his character concerns are overstated. (For the record, I don’t see Carter as a game changer at the next level.)
  • Sometimes I get a good vibe about a player after reading a few profiles, and I’m getting that vibe about Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr. From Doug Lesmerises at Cleveland.com: “Hard to imagine the Bears not getting a good vibe from Johnson, who was a student journalist at Ohio State, who started a charity to help veterans, who always seems comfortable with who he is. He was on the OSU roster with Fields in 2020 as a freshman even though he didn’t start. Fields was the focus of a lot of combine questions, and Johnson went into a staunch defense of him, ending with, ‘He has all the intangibles that you want.'”
  • Mel Kiper has his flaws when it comes to draft analysis, but he joins a growing chorus on Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski, suggesting the kid is destined to at least start his NFL career at guard. If that is the case, would the Bears be interested if they decide to take a lineman early, as Johnson Jr. and Georgia’s Broderick Jones will also likely be on the board when they choose?
  • DJ Moore’s Moore2Life Foundation “supports at-risk youth and families in need through resource distribution, educational advancement, and mentorship-based programming. Growing up with a single mom in the heart of Philadelphia, Moore witnessed gun shots, sirens, and violence on a regular basis. Through the eyes of his young daughter, Ari, Moore intends to change that viewpoint and show the importance of giving back.” Here’s hoping that DJ can bring these efforts to Chicago in the coming years. It is needed.

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