Bears Predicted to Add Game-Changing Defender in Offseason

Matt Eberflus

Getty Head coach Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears revealed why the team is going with Riley Reiff over Larry Borom.

The Chicago Bears have lost seven games in a row, and yet it is hard to recall a more exciting time to be a fan of the franchise.

There are several reasons why, including the emergence of quarterback Justin Fields as one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL, well north of $100 million the team has to spend in free agency in 2023 and currently the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft. Chicago has a chance to use that pick to add a generational player on the defensive side of the ball, as they potentially have already done on offense by selecting Fields in the first round two years ago.

Several mock drafts predict the Bears will lean toward Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. with the No. 2 pick, though Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports Chicago has other ideas for that selection — namely, the drafting of defensive tackle Jalen Carter out of Georgia.

Carter Could Prove Even More Dynamic at D-Tackle For Bears Than Anderson on Edge

Jalen Carter

GettyDefensive tackle Jalen Carter of Georgia makes a tackle against Michigan in a 2021 game.

It is hard to fathom the Bears passing on Anderson, who has recorded a staggering 34.5 sacks and 58.5 tackles for loss in 40 career games at the collegiate level. However, if there is a player Chicago would consider selecting over Anderson in the No. 2 spot, it’s Carter.

Shapiro explained why as part of a mock draft published on December 8.

Defensive tackle, specifically the 3-tech tackle, is one of the most important positions in Matt Eberflus’ and Alan Williams’ defense. Think DeForest Buckner on the [Indianapolis] Colts, Tommie Harris on Lovie Smith’s Bears teams, or Warren Sapp on the late 90s/early 2000s [Tampa Bay] Buccaneers.

Carter doesn’t have gaudy sack numbers this year, partly because he missed two games with a knee injury, but make no mistake, Carter generates serious pressure on opposing quarterbacks by collapsing the middle of the pocket. Carter’s swim move is devastating, but he can get by blockers a variety of ways, including bull rushes and spins. Other times he simply uses his superior strength to toss opposing linemen aside.

Carter is by no means a pure pass rusher, though. In fact, he may be better at defending the run than he is at pressuring the QB. The Bears struggled to stop running backs to start the season, but have gradually improved. Adding Carter can boost their run defense into the top half of the league.

Bears in Prime Position With No. 2 Pick in 2023 NFL Draft

Georgia DT Jalen Carter

Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesQuarterback Bryce Young of the Alabama Crimson Tide (right) carries the ball as defensive tackle Jalen Carter of the Georgia Bulldogs (left) defends on December 4, 2021.

Carter has been a part of two legendary collegiate defenses at Georgia over the last two seasons and figures to step in as an immediate factor wherever he lands in the NFL.

The 6-foot, 3-inch and 300-pound defensive tackle has amassed 15.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, three passes defensed and two forced fumbles over the previous two seasons, while also contributing in countless ways to his teammates’ success by blowing up both pass and run plays and drawing all kinds of attention from opposing offensive lines.

If the Bears finish the year with the No. 2 overall pick, the choice between Carter and Anderson will be interesting, but doesn’t even sum up all of their options. Depending on where several other teams such as the Colts, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks ultimately slot in, there may be considerable trade value at the No. 2 spot due to the top two quarterbacks in the 2023 class — Bryce Young of Alabama and C.J. Stroud of Ohio State.

Chicago may be able to get a haul in return just for moving down a spot or two, which might take a decision between Carter and Anderson out of the team’s hands while still guaranteeing they can draft one of the two.

The Bears (3-10) are having one of the best bad seasons of all-time, playing competitively in nearly every game despite losing seven in a row. It behooves the team to continue losing the rest of the season, as a strong and swift rebuild appears just months away from ushering in a new and exciting era of Chicago football.

Read More