The Chicago Bears won’t get another chance to see impressive former Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson until much closer to the 2023 NFL draft.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Wilson is no longer planning to participate in the Red Raiders’ pro day on March 29 on the advice of “renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson.” The projected top-10 pick had “hardware” removed from his foot earlier this week that was leftover from a November surgery and has been advised not to “sweat or workout on the foot” for 15 to 20 days following the procedure.
Here’s what Anderson wrote in a letter sent to all NFL teams, via Rapoport:
Tyree Wilson has responded extremely well and has done a great job with the rehab program instituted after his surgical procedure that I performed on November 21, 2022.
Per my original November protocol, and as his foot is adequately healed and he is remarkably well clinically, I removed the hardware from his foot on March 21, 2023.
As is standard to prevent risk of infection I have recommended to Tyree that he avoid any activity that causes sweating or workout on the foot for 15-20 days while his incision completely heals. Thereafter I plan on completely clearing Tyree for football-related activities and allowing him to ramp up his workouts.
Rapoport added that Wilson now plans to hold a workout for NFL teams in mid-April to make up for the lack of pro day. The 6-foot-6, 276-pound pass rusher is in the running to be one of the first few defensive players taken in the 2023 draft next month and could be one of the highest-placed targets on the Bears’ draft board given his outstanding athleticism and length (86-inch wingspan). The real question is whether Wilson will actually still be on the board when the Bears pick at No. 9 overall.
How Likely is Tyree Wilson to Fall Into Bears’ Hands?
Wilson was one of several first-round prospects who met with the Bears at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis earlier this month. When asked about the meeting, he said: “Great energy. Love the coaches. Love the GM. They got great coaches, and I would be excited to play for the Bears.” But how likely is it that Wilson will be there when the Bears make their first-round selection?
Right now, nobody is too certain about how the first 10 picks will shake out,but it does seem to be a near-consensus among mock drafters that Wilson will come off the board somewhere in that range. The Athletic’s most recent mock had Wilson going to the Detroit Lions at No. 6 overall while NFL.com’s latest mock had him going seventh to the Las Vegas Raiders, but ESPN’s Mel Kiper had him going to the Tennessee Titans with the 11th pick — two picks after the Bears make their selection (Jalen Carter).
One thing that would help the Bears get a shot at Wilson would be if Arizona decided to trade away the No. 3 overall pick. As things stand now, the Cardinals are almost certain to get their choice of a defensive player with Carolina (No. 1) and Houston (No. 2) both believed to want quarterbacks, but they might prefer to get a haul of picks like the Bears did from the Panthers and trade further down into the first round. If there is a team looking to jump the Indianapolis Colts (No. 4) for their preferred quarterback, the No. 3 pick is really their only option left at this point.
If the Cardinals stay put, though, the Bears will likely need a lot of luck to get Wilson.
Could Bears Throw Curveball With CB Selection?
Everyone is expecting the Bears to either go with a defensive lineman or an offensive tackle with the No. 9 overall pick, and for good reason. The Bears are now more than a week into free agency and still don’t have a new starting right tackle or a 3-tech defensive tackle to boost their lineup in 2023, but there could be solutions for both problems available when they make their pick. If the wrong guys are taken before the Bears are on the clock, though, perhaps they would consider going in a different direction and taking one of the top cornerbacks in the class instead.
The Bears have a quality top cornerback in Jaylon Johnson and a promising second option in 2022 second-round pick Kyler Gordon, but they could still use a quality CB3 to take over for an inconsistent Kindle Vildor in 2023. If general manager Ryan Poles decides a significant investment is needed in one of the premier spots of his defense, he could target either Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon or Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez with the ninth overall pick and turn his secondary into a no-fly zone. It would also add some insurance to the roster in case extension talks with Johnson don’t go as planned.
Then again, the 2023 draft class is considered to be deep with cornerback talent, so a top-10 investment might not be warranted for the Bears to add a necessary piece.