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What analysts project Bears will do with No. 1 pick


With the NFL Draft just over two months away, here's what 14 NFL analysts are predicting the Bears will do with the No. 1 overall pick:

Charlie Campbell, Walter Football (Feb. 20)

Pick: Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson
Comment: General manager Ryan Poles sounds positive about Justin Fields and talked about Chicago needing more talent at the premium positions – edge rusher, offensive tackle, cornerback and wide receiver. Among those positions, Anderson is the best prospect. The Bears badly need a difference maker for their defensive line and have to replace Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack. Anderson can be the cornerstone for the Bears to build their defense around. In 2022, Anderson collected 51 tackles, 10 sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder was the rare freshman to start on Nick Saban's defense, but Anderson proved his special ability with a superb 2020 season. He was third in the SEC with seven sacks while also recording 10.5 tackles for a loss and 52 tackles. Anderson was phenomenal in 2021, recording 101 tackles, 17.5 sacks and three passes defended. Not only was he a dominant pass rusher, but Anderson was a strong, tough run defender. He has outstanding instincts and showed a great motor in the 2021 season.

Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network (Feb. 21)
Pick: Bears trade down from 1 to 4 with Colts and take Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson
Comment: The Bears are in an enviable spot with the No. 1 overall pick. Assuming their confidence in Fields is legitimate, they can easily trade down, stay in the top four, acquire extra draft capital, and still pick a blue-chip defensive prospect like Will Anderson Jr.

Nate Davis, USA Today (Feb. 21)
Pick: Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter
Comment: A plethora of options here, and GM Ryan Poles has numerous needs to address. Pass rusher should most certainly be under consideration. Offensive line would make sense given the Bears need to put more pieces (and protection) around QB Justin Fields. Trading down a few spots with a team in need of a franchise passer obviously is a viable path. The 6-3, 300-pounder's sack numbers (3 last year) won't wow you. But the All-American is cat quick, lines up at all points along the front, can push the pocket and gets exceptional penetration and is especially effective at swallowing running backs. Chicago coach Matt Eberflus, who previously ran the Colts defense, might see his new version of DeForest Buckner.

Luke Easterling, Draft Wire (Feb. 16)
Pick: Bears trade down from 1 to 4 with Colts and take Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter|
Comment: This is an ideal scenario for the Bears, who get additional draft picks to move down a few spots, and still end up with one of the prospects they could have happily taken at No. 1 overall. Carter is a disruptive force at the point of attack and would make an immediate impact for a defensive front desperate for playmakers.

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports (Feb. 19)
Pick: Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson
Comment: If Chicago is unwilling to move out of the No. 1 overall selection, then there is going to be more interest in Arizona's selection at No. 3 overall. The Bears did not find a deal worth potentially missing out on one of the elite defenders so they stick and pick Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson.



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Kevin Hanson, Sports Illustrated (Feb. 17)
Pick: Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter
Comment: The Bears find themselves in an ideal situation. While I won't project trades in this iteration of my mock, it's more likely than not that the Bears will find a trade partner as a quarterback-needy team looks to move up. In some of those trade scenarios, they may still have the chance to draft Carter or Alabama's Will Anderson Jr. There isn't a wrong choice when choosing between Carter and Anderson, as they are the 1A and 1B on my big board as the top prospects in this year's draft class. Bears coach Matt Eberflus has talked about the importance of having a stud three-technique in his defense, and Carter is a game-wrecker from the interior. The most talented prospect on a defense that yielded five first-round picks in 2022, Carter has a special blend of power, short-area quickness and lateral agility to be equally disruptive against the run and pass.

Vinny Iyer, Sporting News (Feb. 12)
Pick: Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson
Comment: The Bears, picking first overall for the first time since 1947, shouldn't need to consider QB with the passing and running ceiling of big-armed Justin Fields. The ideal scenario is trading down for extra first-down selection power with a team looking to jump the Texans for a particular franchise QB. If the Bears stay, they should look to get familiar defensive pop. Getting this cornerstone pass rusher and active all-around playmaker is great call. Anderson would give them a new Khalil Mack after also saying goodbye to Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith on the second level.

Daniel Jeremiah, (Feb. 21)
Pick: Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter
Comment: I'm not projecting trades in a mock draft this early in the offseason, but I'll be surprised if the Bears end up holding onto the No. 1 overall pick. That said, I don't think they'll move down beyond the range of one of the top defensive players.

Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network (Feb. 21)
Pick: Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter
Comment: The Bears can use help all over the field, but taking the best player available is the best strategy at this point. Jalen Carter is a freakish presence who can slide into [the] Bears' front seven and anchor the unit for years. A trade-down makes sense if Chicago receives quality offers for QB-needy teams, but going too far down puts them at risk of missing out on Carter and/or Will Anderson Jr.

Garrett Podell, CBS Sports (Feb. 21)
Pick: Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter
Comment: The Bears need help at a number of positions across the board, so why not go get the top prospect in the draft? Carter is listed at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, 2 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than the Rams' destroyer of offenses, Aaron Donald. Carter's production makes him the best defensive player on Georgia's back-to-back national title teams that were loaded with NFL talent, leading the way with 66 pressures and 15.5 tackles for loss the last two seasons. Watching him in person against TCU in the College Football Playoff National Championship game, it was mind-blowing to see his fluidity as he smoothly moved Horned Frogs offensive linemen out of the way with ease.

Chad Reuter, (Feb. 13)
Pick: Bears trade down from 1 to 2 with Texans and 2 to 4 with Colts and take Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson
Comment: Chicago adds to its haul, trading back another two spots and still landing Anderson, an all-around talent on the edge. The 'Bama defender addresses a major need for the Bears.

Keith Sanchez, Draft Network (Feb. 20)
Pick: Bears trade down from 1 to 7 with Raiders and take Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson
Comment: Chicago trades back in this NFL mock draft and decides to help Fields with OL Paris Johnson Jr. Johnson has experience playing multiple positions and should be an immediate plug-and-play starter to help give Fields more protection.

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports (Feb. 22)
Pick: Bears trade down from 1 to 4 with Colts and take Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson
Comment: Anderson gives me serious Khalil Mack vibes, which makes this perfect for the Bears, particularly after trading back. In the trade, the Bears get this pick, the Colts' selections in Round 2 and Round 4 along with a 2024 first-round pick and third-round pick, plus a 2025 second-round choice. 

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports (Feb. 21)
Pick: Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson
Comment: The Bears moved on from Robert Quinn before the trade deadline so they'll be in the market for an edge rusher this offseason, and Will Anderson is in the same pre-draft conversations as Chase Young and Nick Bosa when it comes to best non-QB players in a class.