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What analysts predict Bears will do with No. 9 pick


With the NFL Draft kicking off a week from Thursday, here's what 13 analysts who've updated their mock drafts this week are predicting the Bears will do with the ninth pick in the first round:

Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune (April 16)

Pick: Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
Comment: Ryan Poles' greatest roster need is to stock the defensive front with edge rushers and at least one tackle. The strength of the draft if the Bears don't find a partner to trade down is at offensive tackle — and Poles can more than justify adding protection for quarterback Justin Fields.

Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 17)
Pick: Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter
Comment: The Bears have spent considerable time with Carter throughout the process to better understand him as a player and person. Individual maturity is never guaranteed with prospects — and that is the risk with Carter — but his on-field impact as a three-technique in Matt Eberflus' scheme could make the risk worth it for general manager Ryan Poles.

Charlie Campbell, Walter Football (April 17)
Pick: Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright
Comment: The Bears add some tackle help to protect Justin Fields. Wright (6-5, 333) was Tennessee's starting right tackle in 2022, and he had an excellent season, not allowing a sack of quarterback Hendon Hooker. Wright has good size to him and has some strength as a run blocker. At the Senior Bowl, he did well in the pass-rushing one-on-ones and looked pro-ready. With his size, experience, and mean streak, Wright has been a riser throughout the draft process. Wright could be a very good starting right tackle in the NFL.

Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football (April 18)
Pick: Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright
Comment: Thanks to the incompetence of the Houston Texans, the Bears were able to obtain the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They have since moved down to No. 9 in a very successful trade. This then begs the question, what do the Bears do with the ninth pick? Darnell Wright didn't allow a single sack to Hendon Hooker last year.

Jared Dubin, CBS Sports (April 18)
Pick: Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
Comment: The Bears land a player who is probably the best pure left tackle in the class.

Jamie Eisner, Draft Network (April 18)
Pick: Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter
Comment: Jalen Carter decided not to make any visits to teams picking outside of the top 10—and the odds say that decision makes sense. It's been an… uh… interesting offseason for Carter, but it wasn't so long ago that the Bears were seriously considering him with the No. 1 overall pick. It's tough to see him getting by the Bears here at No. 9.

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports (April 18)
Pick: Northwestern tackle Peter Skoronski
Comment: Peter Skoronski has positional flexibility to play any of the five spots on the offensive line, but Braxton Jones played well enough at left tackle to earn an extended look. The selection of Skoronski is more about getting the five best linemen on the field.

Oliver Hodgkinson, Pro Football Network (April 18)
Pick: Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
Comment: If Paris Johnson Jr. is still on the board when the Chicago Bears are on the clock next week, they should run the card to the podium with his name on it. Justin Fields gets a premier pass protector whose size, strength, and athleticism allow him to neutralize pass rushers while being a force in the ground game. Johnson is also as good away from the field as he is on it.

Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports (April 18)
Pick: Northwestern tackle Peter Skoronski
Comment: Skoronski was excellent as Rashawn Slater's successor at Northwestern and has all the traits to be a successful lineman in the NFL. Known for his versatility (can play guard and has the ideal size to dominate there), Skoronski can start Week 1 and immediately improve a Chicago offensive line that needs to protect Justin Fields better. Eventually Skoronski will be a left tackle, but he may be better starting off at guard.

Cam Mellor, Pro Football Network (April 18)
Pick: Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
Comment: The Bears grab the versatile Paris Johnson Jr. to block on the left side or filter inside. He's at his best on the move in front of his ball carriers, and Justin Fields will love his all-around game.

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA Today (April 17)
Pick: Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
Comment: With a stated dedication to prioritizing premium positions, new general manager Ryan Poles might be drawn to an offensive tackle as he contemplates the options for using his bounty from the trade back from No. 1. Though Johnson was a backup for the Buckeyes during Justin Fields' junior season at Ohio State, he could get the chance here to be a long-term pass-protecting solution for his friend and former teammate.

Peter Schrager, (April 18)
Pick: Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez
Comment: 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. He could go before Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports (April 18)
Pick: Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
Comment: Few teams have been as busy this offseason than the Bears, who added talent on both sides of the ball, including guard Nate Davis, tight end Robert Tonyan, defensive end DeMarcus Walker (7.0 sacks with the Titans in '22) and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. There's still a need at right tackle and edge rusher but with many of the top free-agent offensive linemen already signed elsewhere, and 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.