Category Archives: News

Bears DC Sets Record Straight on Roster, Name-Drops Veteran

An otherwise innocuous comment from Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams might have just cracked the code on the team’s strategy in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Bears DC Name-Drops Veteran: ‘We Have a 3-Technique’

“We have a 3-technique, right, so that’s Justin [Jones]” Williams told media after the first rookie minicamp practice on May 5 via the team’s official YouTube channel. “Justin will be in there. But…every great defensive line in the NFL, they have a wave of guys that go in and out. Every guy cannot play uh 60-65 plays. So we need a good rotation of defensive linemen. So Justin’s a 3, and then whoever’s next will come in and they’ll help Justin out. And then we’ll have a wave of guys that are in and out, and if we’re going to be great that’s what we’re going to need to have. And so we’re working towards that.”

The Bears signed Jones, 26, to a two-year, $12 million contract after their initial major free agent splash – defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi – failed his physical. Ogunjobi eventually landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers while Jones went on to finish second on the Bears in sacks and fifth in pass deflections.

A 6-foot-3, 309-pounder, Jones moves well and was often one of the few noticeable parts along a beleaguered front seven.

Rookies Ready to Rock

The Bears went into the 2023 NFL seemingly with a clear-cut need for a defensive tackle that could shoot the gaps and collapse the pocket. That led to speculation that they could select Georgia’s Jalen Carter – who went to the Philadelphia Eagles after they traded up with the Bears to get him – but it sounds like they were not as high on him as those projections thought.

They did take a pair of defensive tackles, using a second-round pick on Florida lineman Gervon Dexter Sr. and a third-rounder on Zacch Pickens out of South Carolina.

Dexter spoke about his role going from a gap-filler to an attacking defender with the Bears.

He attributed concerns about his potentially slow get-off to his responsibilities for the Gators before saying he relishes the opportunity to get vertical and into the offensive backfield.

Pickens’ introductory press conference almost went in the opposite direction.

After weighing in at the combine at 291 pounds, he said he plans to play closer to his college playing weight of 305 pounds. Pickens said he dropped the weight to test faster at the combine where he drew raves about his quickness.

The 6-foot-4 Pickens also shed some light on his and Davis’ budding bromance.

“When we was flying places, we was always together,” Pickens said. “So I was like, ‘I feel like we’re going to be together’. Then, wouldn’t you know it, the Bears draft him, then they draft me. And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, we’re gonna have fun with this. And I texted him, I was like, ‘We just got to take over, do our stuff right, and we could easily be the dynamic duo.”

A Favorite of Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus

The Bears also drafted Kennesaw State’s Travis Bell – whom both general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus are fond of – in the seventh round as they continued the roster overhaul that began last offseason.

 Eberflus did not wax as poetically as Poles. But he also name-dropped Bell among his early favorites from the class which featured plenty of athleticism and experience.

Bears Ink Massive OL Prospect Mentored by 2x Super Bowl Champ

The overhaul of the Chicago Bears‘ roster continues in Year 2 under general manager Ryan Poles with the former offensive lineman reaching across the pond to add a prospect to the unit that was once viewed as a weakness but could be the best when all is said and done – the offensive line.

Chicago inked 6-foot-8, 331-pounder Roy Mbaeteka, to a rookie minicamp deal on May 4, per NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero.

Massive OL Prospect Inks Minicamp Deal With Bears

Mbaeteka is an international prospect from the African nation of Nigeria. He had multiple stints on the New York Giants practice squad last season.

Mbaeteka is still only 23 years old. He declined a futures contract offer from the Giants in January to return to the NFL’s International Pathway Program.

“The six Nigerian players were discovered via Osi Umenyiora‘s The Uprise initiative and attended the inaugural NFL Africa talent camp in Ghana last year,” Pelissero reported in a subsequent tweet. “They were then invited to the International Combine in London and secured their place on the IPP program.”

Umenyiora spent 12 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Giants. He helped lead them to victory in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.

Mbateka never played high school or college football and is a former basketball player. He had to hitch a ride, traveling 470 miles from Lagos to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, where the tryouts were being held, per Larry Mayer of

“Once you see him, you know he’s physically imposing and in a year or two if you immerse him in football culture, he’s going to be fantastic,” Umenyiora told Michael Eisen of in April of 2022 after Mbaeteka signed. “The Giants took a chance. Not much of a chance, I think. When you see him working, you’re going to know what he’s about. He is big, strong, physical, extremely intelligent, very athletic. He’s built to play offensive tackle in the league. In fact, he reminds me quite a bit of Kareem McKenzie…He has the same temperament. He’s very smart, but he’s a very athletic player.”

Per Mayer, 37 players have joined NFL rosters through the IPP program. The Bears also brought in a (slightly) more proven prospect with rookie camp right around the corner.

Bears Bring in Former Rams Playmaker

The Bears also invited former Los Angeles Rams wideout Jacob Harris in for their rookie minicamp as well, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston.

A former fourth-round pick, Harris continues the influx of explosive athletes to the roster.

He has a slight frame for a tight end but is unproven as a wide receiver.

There are also some durability concerns. He tore his pec in December of last season, ending his campaign prematurely in Week 11 after seven appearances.

“For a prospect who once looked promising thanks to his athleticism, it’s disappointing to see Harris’ time with the Rams on the verge of ending,” writes Cameron DaSilva of Rams Wire. “Injuries likely played a factor in that after he missed time in each of his first two years, but perhaps someone else will give him a chance and hope he can stay healthy.”

Bears Add Another Athletic Prospect

Both Harris and Mbaeteka are long shots to make the 53-man roster, let alone be active on gamedays

Bears GM Ryan Poles Sends Clear Message With Day 2 NFL Draft Picks

But Poles’ ideal vision of a Bears player becomes clearer by the transaction. He targeted durable, experienced athletes in the latter rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft. He is doing the same now, targeting traits in lieu of pedigree.

Bears’ Offseason Addition Reveals True Feelings About Playing in Chicago

And just like that, Chicago Bears EDGE rusher DeMarcus Walker might have just endeared himself to the local populace.

“I love it here in Chicago,” Walkers exclaimed in a tweet on May 3.

The seventh-year man out of Florida State whose Twitter profile reads “Bear TF Down” has a massive opportunity in front of him. His new team boasted what was arguably the league’s most anemic pass rush last season recording just 20 sacks on the campaign, ranking 32nd in the NFL. Only the Atlanta Falcons recorded a worse pressure rate.

Enter Walker, 28, who is coming off a career-high 7.0 sacks and 10 tackles for loss with the Tennessee Titans. At 6-foot-4 and listed at 280 pounds, he figures to offer head coach Matt Eberflus the option to use him inside or outside. But after the class the Bears came away from the first wave of free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft with, EDGE is certainly where he is needed most.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles is certainly aware of the need but is sticking to a plan.

Ryan Poles Staying Patient on Bears Pass Rush

“You want the right talent,” Poles told reporters after the draft concluded. “And then, like anything, proper value that makes sense…You try to stay disciplined, do the right thing, and not panic and do something that’s going to hurt us down the road. I think that has paid off for us and it will continue to.”

Poles went on to say the need for “certain things to lineup” would determine if they added to the group noting that training camp is not for a couple of months still.

All of that sounds like an opportunity for Walker – or fellow free-agent acquisition Rasheem Green who has 10.0 sacks over the last two seasons in a part-time role, or either of incumbents Trevis Gipson or second-year, former college wideout Domonique Robinson – to step up.

Trevis Gipson Acknowledged Down Season

Gipson is entering a key time, heading into his fourth season and the final year of his contract.

He’s coming off an admitted down season in which he recorded just 3.0 sacks and 4.0 tackles for loss despite being active for all 17 games including 10 starts.

“Personally I’m [going to] give myself probably a ‘D’ if not ‘F’,” Gipson said after the season finale. “The sack numbers went down but, I don’t know. If I’m basing it off production probably that grade. But, if I’m basing it off improvement, probably a ‘C’. I got better in areas but it’s a new scheme and it’s a lot of things I realize I need to work on.”

It was not that long ago that Poles was pronouncing his faith in Gipson, Robinson, et al. before the season went awry for the group.

“I really do trust in Gipson, he’s had a good start to the season,” Poles said after trading Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles. “And even young Dom Robinson has flashed…And I think he’s going to continue to trend upwards.”

Even if that was just lip service, there is still an opportunity for someone to step up.

‘Hot Take’ Prediction Sees Unexpected Development in Bears’ Offense

The early-money favorite to lead the Chicago Bears backfield this season would almost have to be the incumbent to the offense, Khalil Herbert. He is heading into his third year with the team after tallying over 700 yards and four scores on the ground in a backup/spot starter role last season behind David Montgomery who left for the Detroit Lions this offseason.

If not him, then it might be offseason free-agent acquisition, D’Onta Foreman. He racked up over 900 yards on 200 carries in 17 appearances with nine starts for the Carolina Panthers last season.

But, if one guessed either, they might be wrong no matter what.

“Texas running back Roschon Johnson may have been overlooked a bit during the leadup to the 2023 NFL draft. He was blocked by Bijan Robinson during his time with the Longhorns, so he never got to fully show what he may be capable of,” argues Jake Rill of Bleacher Report. “And because he’s a bruising back, his ceiling could be as high as leading the team in rushing scores this season.

Rookie Predicted to ‘Lead Bears’ Next Season

A ‘Hot Take’ Prediction on Roshon Johnson

“It’s a bit of a hot take, but the early prediction here is that Johnson will get a much larger opportunity than he had with the Longhorns and capitalize on it by getting into the end zone more than any other player on the Chicago roster in 2023.”

The Bears selected Johnson in the fourth round with the No. 115 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

He spent four years in college but, thanks to Robinson, three of them were as a backup.

Still, Johnson racked up no fewer than 80 carries, 400 yards, or five rushing touchdowns in any season in college. The 6-foot, 219-pounder also fit right into the theme of the Bears’ draft with top-notch athleticism scores.

“Chicago could have a three-headed rushing attack this season, with Johnson joining D’Onta Foreman and Khalil Herbert in the backfield,” notes Rill. “Even though Johnson will be a rookie, it’s clear the Bears are high on him.”

The Bears are indeed very high on Johnson

Bears High on Roschon Johnson the Person

“He fits everything [general manager Ryan Poles] and [head coach Matt Eberflus] are trying to accomplish,” Bears Southwest area scout John Syty said per Adam Jahns of The Athletic. “He’s a HITS principle guy. He just emulates everything we want a Chicago Bear to be. … The ‘it’ factor about this kid is special.”

It stands to reason that the Bears would highlight a player’s character. Many believe concerns about Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter’s character led to the Bears passing on the opportunity to select arguably this class’s most talented player.

That’s not something that they will ever have to worry about with Johnson.

“Roschon is the best teammate, first of all, I’ve ever had,” Robinson said, per Greg Braggs of CHGO Bears. “Obviously he’s a running back. But I think that he brings out so much in a player and a team just how he goes about being a leader to not just his teammate but everybody in the community. And I think that who he is as a person and what he does on the football field is, to me, I don’t think that it’s overlooked. Because he shows his presence, and he makes his presence felt. But, man, Roschon is the guy. I think that he’s the other great running back in this class. And I don’t think that people should overlook the talent that he has and the skill set that he brings because I think he’s just as good as anybody. And I think just his toughness and his heart is what makes him stand out over everybody.”

Other Predictions for Bears’ Rookies

Johnson’s was by far the hottest take among the bunch. Rill also predicted that No. 10 overall pick Darnell Wright will start every game for the Bears this season. His durability was one of the things that stood out about the four-year starter.

“The 21-year-old is an impressive prospect with the size (6’5″ and 333 pounds) and skills necessary to become an anchor for Chicago’s O-line for the long term,” Rill argues about Wright. “He’ll provide an immediate boost and should help cut down on the number of times Fields gets sacked.

Rill also projects that fifth-round (No. 148) rookie linebacker Noah Sewell will be the “most improved” Bears rookie by the end of the season.

Maybe even more.

“Sewell has a lot of potential. He’s a strong, physical player who was a three-year starter for Oregon and can rack up tackles,” writes Rill. “If he realizes his full potential, he could even become a starter down the line.”

Bears’ New Playmaker Sends Strong Message to Justin Fields

With the No. 133 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles selected Tyler Scott, a wide receiver from the University of Cincinnati.

Bears Rookie WR Tyler Scott Sends Message to Justin Fields

Scott took to social media to his brand new quarterback, Justin Fields.

“Justin’s going to like throwing to him deep,” said Bears Midwest scout Ryan Cavanaugh, per Adam Jahns of The Athletic. “His most exciting trait is his big-play ability down the field.”

Scott – listed at 5-foot-10 and 177 pounds – has drawn comparisons to several notable current NFL wideouts. The first and most prominent is Seattle Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett. They have a similar build, short-area burst, and long speed.

Another is former Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys pass-catcher T.Y. Hilton with whom Bears head coach Matt Eberflus is very familiar.

“While the comparison to T.Y. Hilton might raise some eyebrows, Scott is a similar player in body type, speed and versatility,” writes draft analyst Lance Zierlien. “With just two seasons of starting experience at receiver, his route running and ball skills are almost certain to continue to improve and become less of an issue for him in the future. He has the speed and shiftiness to uncover on all three levels. Also, he offers jet sweep and receiver screen value. A smallish frame and lack of hand strength are likely to continue to plague him on contested catches, though. Scott is an ascending talent whose versatility and playmaking talent create an easily projectable upside as a good starting slot receiver early in his career.”

The final comparison is Bears receiver Darnell Mooney, a former late-round pick himself.

Mooney’s 2022 season ended prematurely following an ankle injury that required surgery. He finished the season with 493 yards on 40 receptions with two touchdowns. He is just one year removed from his first 1000-yard season, however; notable as he heads into the final year of his contract.

Scott recorded 899 yards and nine scores on 54 grabs in his final season with the Bearcats and caught 14 touchdowns over his final two seasons.

Bijan Robinson Praises Roschon Johnson

Scott was not the only Day 3 pick that comes with lofty praise. Texas running back Roshcon Johnson had the tough luck of being stuck behind No. 8 overall pick Bijan Robinson following his freshman season after converting from quarterback.

But Robinson would be the first to tell you the kind of player his understudy is.

“Roschon is the best teammate, first of all, I’ve ever had,” Robinson said in a video shared by Greg Braggs of CHGO Bears. “Obviously he’s a running back. But I think that he brings out so much in a player and a team just how he goes about being a leader to not just his teammate but everybody in the community. And I think that who he is as a person and what he does on the football field is, to me, I don’t think that it’s overlooked. Because he shows his presence, and he makes his presence felt. But, man, Roschon is the guy. I think that he’s the other great running back in this class. And I don’t think that people should overlook the talent that he has and the skill set that brings because I think he’s just as good as anybody. And I think just his toughness and his heart is what makes him stand out over everybody.”

Johnson ran the ball at least 80 times, tallied over 400 yards, and scored five touchdowns on the ground in each of his four seasons in Austin.

He has also flashed his hands with double-digit receptions in three of his four years.

“He fits everything Ryan and Matt are trying to accomplish,” Bears Southwest area scout John Syty said per Jahns. “He’s a HITS principle guy. He just emulates everything we want a Chicago Bear to be. … The ‘it’ factor about this kid is special.”

Jaquan Brisker Invokes Aaron Rodgers Over Bears’ Draft

Second-year Bears safety Jaquan Brisker had an active weekend. He showed support for his many former Penn State teammates as they begin the transition to the NFL.

He also showed his affinity for his team’s choices, as any good teammate would.

Some questioned the Bears passing on Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter only to double up on defensive tackles with Gervon Dexter Sr. and Zacch Pickens in the second and third rounds. They also took offensive lineman Darnell Wright No. 10 overall, six spots higher than the consensus mocks projected him to.

“We in the trenches,” Brisker tweeted with a familiar tag. “RELAX!”

Bears GM Ryan Poles Sends Clear Message With Day 2 NFL Draft Picks

In two days, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles has fortified the trenches.

On the first day of the 2023 NFL Draft, he selected University of Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright with the No. 10 overall pick.

For his follow-up, Pace turned back to the SEC for two more picks with defensive linemen Gervon Dexter Sr from the University of Florida and Zacch Pickens of South Carolina and remained in the southern region of the country to get the third in standout cornerback Tyrique Stevenson out of the University of Miami.

Three of the four players are seniors and the other is a redshirt junior. All of them have plenty of experience with no fewer than 36 starts (Dexter) in their respective collegiate careers – being battle-tested is key with all three potentially stepping into starting roles.

They are also explosive athletes.

Ryan Poles Rebuilds Trenches, Stacks Secondary for Bears on Day 2 of NFL Draft

Rd. 2 Pick No. 53
Gervon Dexter Sr. – DL – Florida
6-foot-6 | 310 lbs

Dexter recorded just 4.5 sacks over his final two seasons down in Gainesville but did tally over 100 total tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss. He also recorded two fumbles and even snagged an interception in that span. A former basketball player, he is only scratching the surface of what he can – and what the Bears need him to – do.

“Good run defender who can eat up space and plug gaps and hard to move with one-on-one blocks,” said his former assistant coach at Florida, Luis Mcleod, per Chicago sports reporter Daniel Greenberg on April 28. “He has been working very hard on his pass rush.”

Rd. 2 Pick No. 56
Tyrique Stevenson – CB – Miami
6-foot | 198 lbs

For the second year in a row, the Bears took a cornerback that we had mocked to them – and in the same round, no less. But Tyrique Stevenson is a different style of player than last year’s No. 39 overall pick, Kyler Gordon. He is built more like fourth-year corner Jaylon Johnson – who just happens to be heading into the final year of his contract – and figures to contend on the outside, allowing the Bears to put Gordon back in the slot.

Chicago traded the Nos. 61 and 135 picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars to jump up and take him.

There could be some concern with the lack of takeaways meaning poor ball skills. But he recorded seven pass deflections last season and 11 over his final two seasons and is otherwise solid.

“The Chicago Bears are getting a physical press corner in Tyrique Stevenson, who was one of the most impressive defenders at this year’s Senior Bowl,” tweeted Luke Chaney of The Miami Hurricane.

The Bears’ passing defense ranked 17th in yards and 10th in touchdowns allowed last season.

But that is largely because teams ran the ball so easily – they were still 32nd in net yards per attempt.

Rd. 3 Pick No. 64
Zacch Pickens – DL – South Carolina
6-foot–4 | 291lbs

Knowing how brutal his run defense and pass rush – 31st in pressure rate and 32nd in sacks – last year, Poles went right back to the defensive line with South Carolina’s Zacch Pickens who spoke about his versatility saying he can play, “Wherever the team needs me,” per Zach Pearson of Bear Report.

“If I do everything right and I know I will, I can be one of the greats,” Pickens said, per Greenberg. “I’m not holding that back. I’m so for real. If I check all of the boxes and when I do, I promise I’m going to be the best defensive interior tackle.”

Pickens recorded 6.5 sacks and 9.0 tackles for loss this past season, recovering one fumble, and one pass deflection.

Ryan Poles, Bears’ Day 2 Haul Leaves Glaring Hole

Poles certainly seemed to be targeting a certain type of player in this draft and it was not solely based on experience and durability.

Stevenson would be the only exception.

That would still seem to leave a need for an EDGE presence, though the Bears watched two separate runs on the position and went in different directions. As has been the case for much of this cycle, though, there figure to be any number of players available when the Bears next come on the clock at No. 104.

At that point, however, you’re targeting depth and would have to be fortunate to uncover an impact player. There are other avenues – free agency and/or possibly even a trade – to address the issue and should likely be explored even if the Bears draft someone.

Ryan Poles Issues Telling Statement on Bears’ Plans for NFL Draft Day 2

The Chicago Bears came away with the potential final piece of their offensive line taking University of Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft but they still have a glaring need for some reinforcements along the defensive line.

To get some, Bears general manager Ryan Poles is willing to be mobile.

Bears GM on Day 2 of NFL Draft: ‘We Might Have to Maneuver’

“I think that’s going to play into, based on the numbers that we have, we feel confident that there’s going to be opportunity there,” Poles told reporters from Halas Hall. “We might have to maneuver a little bit and see what we can do. And I’ve seen that before where you try to move and you strike out once the pairing doesn’t make sense. And the guy or guys fall to you which is always a good experience too. But, yeah, we might have to move a little bit and see what happens. But I feel good about it.”

Players such as Keion White of Georgia Tech or Isaiah Foskey of Notre Dame would seem to be nice fits. LSU’s BJ Ojulari is undersized but the Bears showed interest in Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith who ultimately wound up with the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 30.

The Bears’ next slot is not until pick No. 53.

That is a long time to wait – 22 selections – with such a glaring need and a run on the position happening near the tail end of Round 1.

Poles pulled off a trade back, dropping just one spot after swapping picks with the Philadelphia Eagles and picking up a 2024 first-round pick in the process. He noted during his availability that other teams were looking to trade up to No. 9. But, perhaps in a show of just how highly he thought of Wright, Poles also indicated he was uncomfortable with just how far they would have to fall back in that or any other potential deals, so Wright it was with the 10th pick.

Ryan Poles Avoided Common Issue

To that point, ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano reported that, during his conversations with league personnel, multiple teams had fewer first-round grades than he is used to hearing.

“Before the draft, I like to ask teams how many first-round grades have you given out this year, how many guys in your first round,” Graziano said on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ on April 28. “This year we were hearing some 10s, and 11s, and 12s.”

Bears Asst. GM Sends Strong Message About Jalen Carter, Draft Plans

Now, though, Poles will have to get creative to fill at least one more key need.

Day 2 should bring plenty of surprises with the Bears also possessing picks Nos. 61 and 64. Perhaps Poles packages two or all three of those to make a move up for a coveted prospect.

Darnell Wright Sends Message to Justin Fields

Wright came across as very thoughtful in his answers but he made no bones about how confident he is in his ability.

“You see on tape, I’m big and I’m strong, Wright told reporters in his first press conference via Zoom. “But I don’t think people realize, once they really get to see some more of me, they’ll see how athletic I am. I can play on both sides if needed…I can play probably anywhere on the line. My athleticism will speak for itself, and I just want to get better and better with my technique.”

But his best line was about quarterback Justin Fields.

Fields tied for the league lead in sacks taken last season with 55 and has taken 91 sacks over his first two seasons.

“That’s my only plan.,” Wright said. “That’s what I’m there for…to keep him clean,” he said. “Amazing, amazing quarterback. And the things he does, we’re going to have a great team….protecting him, that’s my job.”

Justin Fields Reacts to Bears Selecting Darnell Wright No. 10 Overall

And just like that, the Chicago Bears finished their facelift of the offensive line, taking Tennesee offensive tackle Darnell Wright with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They had the No. 9 overall pick. But general manager Ryan Poles flipped it to the Philadelphia Eagles for No. 10 and a 2024 fourth-round pick.

Philadelphia took Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, whom many had mocked to the Bears if he was available when they came up on the clock. Instead, they took the 6-foot-5, 333-pound Wright, the consensus top-rated right tackle in this class. And, for what it’s worth, quarterback Justin Fields certainly seems to be on board with the pick.

Bears’ Rookie Darnell Wright: Protecting Justin Fields ‘My Only Plan’

Given his plug-and-playability, Wright figures to round out a remade Bears offensive line that will feature Cody Whitehair back at guard and 2022’s starting right guard Teven Jenkins shift over to the left side as Nate Davis replaces him.

Asked about the responsibility of protecting Fields who led the league in sacks taken last season, Wright was very matter-of-fact in his response.

“That’s my only plan.,” Wright said in his first press conference via Zoom. “That’s what I’m there for…to keep him clean,” he said. “Amazing, amazing quarterback. And the things he does, we’re going to have a great team….protecting him, that’s my job.”

Wright also spoke on his relationship with Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and offensive line coach Chris Morgan.

Darnell Wright Sounds Off on OC Luke Getsy

“I was at the Senior Bowl and Luke was…a part of it,” Wright remarked. “And it’s funny, he’s the offensive coordinator of the Bears. It’s like a full-circle moment a little bit. It’s crazy. It means a lot that I already have a relationship a little bit with that guy.”

Wright, a four-year starter in college, was voted the American team’s offensive line practice player of the week during his time down in Mobile.

“Bears GM Ryan Poles values size/length on the OL,” tweeted Albert Breer of The Monday Morning QB. “Passing on Peter Skoronski = surprising. But going w/Darnell Wright fits his history/background.”

It’s not just his work on the practice field, either.

Wright has been described as a plug-and-play option at right tackle where the Bears tried to get by with a combination of Larry Borom and Riley Reiff last season.

Wright revealed that he had a top-30 workout with the Bears but he also had a private workout with Morgan.

“Coach C-Mo, I knew he liked me a lot. I knew Poles liked me a lot. And you never know. You can try to say, ‘I think they’re going to pick me’. But, then again, Coach C-Mo, we just actually got off the phone. And he was saying, ‘Man, it was so hard not to just call you and tell you…we were going to pick you’.”

Morgans’ affinity didn’t stop him from putting Wright “through the wringer” in their private workout.

“They brought me in and he also came and he worked me out. He kicked my a***, I’m just going to be honest. He wanted to see what I was made of. It was hard but I didn’t quit,” he said detailing the frenetic pace of the workout. “I think he respected that.

“He just wanted to see if I would quit, and I just wouldn’t quit. …They’ll definitely see what you’re made of a little bit in that little session.”

So what did the Bears see that fans hope to next season?

Darnell Wright Points to His Tape

Wright compared the NFL Draft Combine process to speed dating and said that when the Bears gave him the choice between put-put golf and darts, he chose the latter.

But he’s more than content to point to his tape when asked about the type of player he is.

“You see on tape, I’m big and I’m strong. But I don’t think people realize, once they really get to see some more of me, they’ll see how athletic I am. I can play on both sides if needed…I can play probably anywhere on the line. My athleticism will speak for itself, and I just want to get better and better with my technique.”

“We talked about [what he can do better], I’m not going to tell you everything we talked about. But we talked about a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of stuff that I need to work on, and there’s a lot of stuff that I do really well. And I think it’s rare that you get to go somewhere that you really get to get coached by somebody that you really like, that you feel like could really take your game to the next level. And that’s what I feel like C-Mo can do for me…Coach C-Mo is going to be perfect for me.”

Wright said that Morgan told him that it would be hard but that he “never shies away from hard”.

Explosive EDGE Prospect Sounds Off on Bears’ Interest

The Chicago Bears could be ready to address the NFL’s worst pass rush in 2022 with a highly-touted EDGE rusher.

“Ahead of the #NFLDraft, @GeorgiaFootball EDGE Nolan Smith tells me the #Bears and #Eagles have been the two teams that have shown the most interest in taking him,” tweeted Heavy Sports NFL insider Matt Lombardo on April 26.

The 2023 NFL Draft just one day away. Most of the smoke around the Bears has been around offensive linemen. Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. and Tennessee’s Darnell Wright have been the most consistently linked in recent days. Defensive linemen were also a primary focus. To be specific, seemingly on the interior where Jalen Carter could be the pick at No. 9 overall as well.

Smith would be an interesting choice at No. 9. He is coming off an injury-shortened season that saw him record 3.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss. He made eight appearances before suffering a torn pectoral muscle. Smith measured 6-foot-2 and weighed 239 pounds at the NFL combine. He tallied 9.5 sacks total over his previous three seasons. But made waves during the festivities in Indy.

“Smith posted a blazing-fast 4.39 40-yard dash,” noted Mark Schofield of SB Nation. ”When you added in the 41.5-inch vertical that he posted, it added up to a bit of NFL Combine history…Smith became the heaviest player in Combine history to post a sub-4.4 40-yard dash, along with a vertical of more than 40 inches.

“Both his vertical, and his 40-yard dash, were the fastest of the defensive linemen who tested on Thursday. He also posted the third-best broad jump of the group, which measured in at 10’8.”

Nolan Smith’s Fit in Bears’ Defense

He is built more like a 3-4 EDGE than one who puts his hand in the dirt like the Bears’ linemen do.

That could be more than enough cause to focus on another prospect. But Smith has also garnered some lofty comparisons to another freakish athlete that rushes the passer.

Dallas Cowboys star Micah Parsons.

And the NFL’s second-leading sack artist (tied) last season was Haason Reddick of the Philadelphia Eagles.  Smith compares favorably to Reddick who stands just 6-foot-1.

“He has always been viewed as a project who possesses rare speed and athleticism for an edge defender,” wrote Mitch Kaiser of Pro Football Focus. “The Georgia edge rusher developed more pass-rushing moves and became dominant against the run. We would love to see this progression continue into the NFL, as he has the physical tools to become an elite defensive player, whether he’s coming off the edge or slotted at linebacker.”

Teams also spend more time in sub-packages than base defense these days. This should allow for plenty of creativity in unleashing Smith were he to be the Bears’ choice.

Steelers Reached Out About Another Trade

The Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers came together on a deal bringing wide receiver Chase Claypool to Chicago. The cost was a second-round pick that lands in prime position at 32nd overall.

Note: There are only 31 picks in the first round this year. The Miami Dolphins forfeited their selection after it was found they had impermissible contact with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton.

Claypool recorded just 140 yards on 14 receptions (29 targets) after being traded to Chicago.

“The playbook was completely different, the weather wasn’t the greatest. It was an adjustment but I think knowing those things we’re going to be just fine next year,” Claypool told Rachel Steinberg of Independent on April 26. “Sometimes it can take a shorter time or a longer time, but now I think having a full off-season with the Bears and then being able to play a full season with them is going to be a really great opportunity.”

The jury is still out on what looks like a win for the Steelers early on.

Now, according to ESPN draft insider Todd McShay, Pittsburgh has reached back out to Chicago and general manager Ryan Poles.

“I’ve heard Pittsburgh has contacted multiple teams, including the Bears (No. 9) and Titans (No. 11), about trading up for an offensive tackle,” reported McShay. “The Steelers need a long-term answer as protection for Kenny Pickett, and there are three potential cornerstone left tackles in this class who will be available in that range.”

The Bears have needs of their own along both lines. So whether or not they seek to make a deal remains to be seen. But that also means there are a number of directions they could go a still be successful.

Proposed Draft Day Trade Turns Bears’ No. 9 Pick Into Potential Franchise QB

With some buzz that the Chicago Bears could be looking to trade back even further in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft on April 27, a potential trade partner might also be readily available in the Tennessee Titans.

Late Run on QBs Could Benefit Chicago Bears

“The Bears shouldn’t be finished stockpiling picks just yet,” writes Alex Kay for Bleacher Report. “The Tennessee Titans could send a respectable offer Chicago’s way, coughing up a third-round selection—one the Bears could utilize to round out a woeful defense that needs plenty of help—to jump up two spots.

“That positioning would allow the Titans to catch a falling prospect, perhaps a quarterback like Anthony Richardson, on draft night.”

Bears Get:

– 1st Rd Pick (No. 11, 2023)
– 3rd Rd Pick (No. 72, 2023)

Titans Get:

– 1st Rd Pick (No. 9, 2023)

Richardson is a physical specimen quarterback from the University of Florida. He runs a 4.43 40-yard dash at 6-foot-4 and 244 pounds. He passed for over 2500 yards and 17 touchdowns in his final season down in Gainesville.

The dual-threat passer added over 650 yards and nine scores on the ground.

This is not a new line of thinking but it does fall in line with reports that the Titans have already given up on 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis, per NBC Sports’ Peter King, and are looking to deal.

Bears Asst. GM Sends Strong Message About Jalen Carter, Draft Plans

Several Teams Eyeing Trades Up for QBs

“Can I give you the team that I have been told to keep an eye on that’s exploring this and looking into this?” Jeremiah said on the ‘Move The Sticks’ podcast on March 28. “Again, this is just people around the league who said do not sleep on Numero 11. The Tennessee Titans. The two teams to keep an eye on with the trade-ups were the Raiders and the Titans.”

Tennessee has been pegged as a team to watch for Richardson by Jeremiah’s colleague, Charles Davis.

Of course, Las Vegas and Chicago have done business together in the past. They cannot be ruled out after trading Derek Carr to the New Orleans Saints even if it was different regimes in charge of both operations last time.

“The Chicago Bears are one of the most promising young teams in the league. Their gamble on Justin Fields seems to have paid off, which gave them the luxury of collecting a slew of draft assets to drop down from the No. 1 overall spot in this draft,” Kay explains. “The team could trade down yet again, letting a rival team hungry to pounce on a particular prospect have their spot in exchange for some additional capital on Day 2.”

Again, that would seem to fit Tennessee if they are indeed looking into adding Richardson and can’t stomach the cost of moving up to No. 3 and could put Chicago in play.

Bears Could Capitalize on Titans’ QB Need, Trade Down

ESPN Draft analyst Todd McShay could also see Tennesee taking Richardson.

“Maybe they love (Florida’s) Anthony Richardson? Maybe they love Will Levis and one of those guys falls?” McShay said, per’s Jim Wyatt. “Maybe it gets to pick 7, 8, or 9 and they can make an easy deal and move up a couple of spots and make sure Houston (who also has pick 12) doesn’t trade up ahead of them, or Washington (at 16) doesn’t trade up ahead of them, although I think they are comfortable with their situation for whatever reason. And then at 19, Tampa Bay. So, that will be interesting to see.”

McShay went on ESPN 1000 in Chicago on April 20 and explained that fear of what the Houston Texans may or may not do with the No. 2 overall pick could make Tennessee get antsy, spurring the move up.

Again, the more teams that get involved the better it could be for the Bears. They still have several significant holes to fill, most notably across the offensive and defensive lines.