Bears Predicted to Trade Down Twice, Draft Elite Hometown Tackle

Eberflus, Poles, Bears

Getty Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus (left) and general manager Ryan Poles (right) talk on the sideline ahead of an NFL game in 2023.

Several pundits expect the Chicago Bears to trade off of the No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft, and at least one expects them to trade back twice inside of the top 10 alone.

Laurence Holmes of the Sun Times and 670 The Score pitched on Saturday, January 28, the most drastic draft strategy yet for the Bears, suggesting the team will swap picks with the Indianapolis Colts at No. 4 before immediately doing a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders to move down the board even further to No. 7 overall.

The end result is that Chicago will wind up selecting the highest-rated offensive lineman in this year’s draft — left tackle Peter Skoronski out of Northwestern University, who is originally from Park Ridge, Illinois.

“You know what the Bears need to do? They need to trade. So let’s not play around. We all know that there are major relationships going on between the Bears and the Colts,” Holmes said. “[Colts general manager Chris Ballard] needs a quarterback, so you know what he’s gonna do? He’s gonna trade with the Bears. The Bears are gonna trade out of the No. 1 spot so that the Colts can go get Bryce Young, the quarterback at Alabama.”

Bears Would Miss Out on Carter, Anderson Jr. in Trade With Raiders

Will Anderson Jr.

GettyLinebacker Will Anderson Jr. of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a win against the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 4, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

At this point, Holmes’ argument doesn’t sound all that different from most of the prevailing rationales for why Chicago should move down in the draft.

The Bears have their QB of the future in Justin Fields and need help all over the roster. Dropping to the Colts’ spot at No. 4 and picking up a 2024 first-rounder and another mid-round pick or two in 2023 is a great move for the Bears. Doing so allows Chicago to draft either Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter or Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr., at least one of whom is highly likely to be on the board after the Colts and Houston Texans each presumably go with QBs at picks No. 1 and No. 2.

Holmes predicted that the Arizona Cardinals will scoop up Carter at No. 3, leaving Chicago with a potentially generational pass rushing talent in Anderson Jr. Good enough, yeah? Well, not so fast.

After projecting that the Colts will take Young and the Texans will draft Will Levis out of Kentucky, there is one game-ready, franchise QB prospect left in the mix — C.J. Stroud of Ohio State. Holmes suggested that Chicago will trade down again, allowing the Raiders to move up and select Stroud with the fourth overall pick.

That trade would also potentially be worth the Raiders’ first-round selection in 2024, if they want Stroud badly enough. If not, at least one of the Atlanta Falcons or Carolina Panthers at picks No. 8 and No. 9, respectively, will probably be ready to wheel and deal.

Assuming it is the Raiders, though, the Bears would trade back again to No. 7, where they would ultimately select Skoronski.

Here’s the thing about the Bears, they need a lot of help at a lot of different. positions. … They’re trading that [No. 4] pick to Las Vegas.

Now, here’s the beautiful thing of what we’ve already done with the first four picks in the draft — more picks for the Bears. That’s what they need. They don’t need one player, they need multiple players.

The Bears need help everywhere — both of their lines, offensive and defensive. … [Skoronski] already said this week on [The Parkins & Spiegel Show] that he wants to be a Bear, that it’d be a lifelong dream. We saw [Bears general manager] Ryan Poles at the Ohio State/Northwestern game earlier this year. It’s possible he could have been looking at C.J. Stroud, but I think it’s more likely he was looking [at Skoronski].

Bears Would Draft Peter Skoronski at Precise Value With No. 7 Pick

Peter Skoronski, Northwester

GettyOffensive tackle Peter Skoronski of the Northwestern Wildcats blocks edge rusher Isaiah Gay of the Illinois Fighting Illini at Ryan Field on December 12, 2020 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

If day one of the draft plays out the way Holmes drew it up on Saturday, the Bears would be drafting Skoronski at his precise value while picking up multiple extra picks (and probably multiple first-rounders) in the process.

Skoronski — who stands at 6-feet, 4-inches tall and weighs 315 pounds — is the top offensive tackle in the draft and the seventh-best prospect overall across all positions, according to the Big Board of ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

“I feel good about making Skoronski my top-ranked tackle over Paris Johnson Jr. He is a technician who can bend. He shrugs off quick pass-rushers and can contain rushers who try to win with power,” Kiper Jr. wrote. “Skoronski started 33 games at left tackle for the Wildcats, and he just kept getting better. He allowed just nine pressures and one sack this season, even though his team struggled.”

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