Bears Predicted to Pair Montez Sweat with ‘Most Athletic’ Edge in NFL Draft

Dallas Turner, Alabama

Getty Edge defender Dallas Turner of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Chicago Bears own two of the top nine selections in the upcoming NFL Draft and while the No. 1 overall pick is getting all the buzz, the No. 9 spot offers plenty of intrigue on its own.

Brad Crawford of 247 Sports authored the website’s latest mock draft on Monday, January 15. Crawford predicated that after Chicago drafts USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the top pick, it will set its sights on edge defender Dallas Turner of Alabama.

“The SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year, Turner is arguably the most athletic frontline defender in the country and shined this fall without playing in the shadow of former Alabama first-round pick Will Anderson Jr.,” Crawford wrote. “The former freshman All-American stands 6-4, 250 pounds and passes the eye test with what you want to see for a future first-round selection. He posted career-bests this season with 13.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Often used as a hybrid defender who Alabama allows to roam in various roles, Turner’s strength is his speed and athleticism.”

Montez Sweat Made NFL History as Pass-Rusher in 2023, Earned Huge Extension from Bears

Montez Sweat

GettyDefensive end Montez Sweat of the Chicago Bears.

Chicago needs a three-technique defensive tackle as much, or more, than any position on the defense. That said, the team’s pass-rush off the edge could also be improved.

Turner can fill a premier position of need for the Bears opposite defensive end Montez Sweat, who Chicago acquired in trade from the Washington Commanders ahead of the October 31 deadline. Sweat cost the Bears their second-round draft pick in 2024, which falls at No. 41.

That is a steep price, though Sweat came through for the Bears in 2023. The defensive end tallied 6.0 sacks across nine games in Chicago after posting 6.5 sacks for Washington in eight appearances, for a total of 12.5 sacks on the year — a career-high for the 27-year-old lineman, per Pro Football Reference.

Sweat also made NFL history as a pass-rusher in 2023, leading both the Bears and Commanders franchises in total sacks for the season. No other player has ever accomplished that feat, per Pro Football Talk. Chicago rewarded Sweat with a four-year, $98 million extension that keeps him under contract through 2027.

Bears Urged to Pursue Elite Defensive Tackle in Free Agency

Chiefs' Chris Jones, Eagles brotherly shove, tush push

GettyKansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones.

Chicago used the trade market to land Sweat and will use the draft to pick up Turner, if Crawford is correct about the Bears’ interest in the Alabama linebacker and he remains on the board at No. 9.

However, as of Monday the franchise also has north of $62.1 million in available salary cap space in 2024 and can utilize the free-agent market to fill perhaps its greatest need — a three-technique defensive engine on the interior.

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin of ESPN argued on Sunday, January 7 for Chicago’s pursuit of Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro Chris Jones.

“The missing piece that can take the Bears’ defense from good to elite is a disruptive 3-technique defensive tackle,” Cronin wrote. “Chicago is pleased with Gervon Dexter’s development as a rookie, and while that could be a role he ultimately earns more time in, the Bears’ to-do list in free agency should include testing the market on Kansas City’s Chris Jones.”

Read More