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Bears mock draft: Caleb Williams is getting a lot of help after the trade back

Bears mock draft: Caleb Williams gets big help after trade back originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

We’re just 11 days away from the 2024 NFL Draft, so the Bears’ draft needs are now in pretty clear focus. After presumably drafting Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick, GM Ryan Poles will look to use the other three draft picks at his disposal to address the team’s offensive line and defensive line and potentially add another playmaker in add the attack. How he does that, however, is still up for debate.

As always, this mock draft is not an attempt to predict what the Bears will actually do when they are back in the War Room next season. That is impossible. It’s also not meant to be a recommendation for what the Bears should do. This mock draft is intended as a fun way to discuss wild ideas, dig into some of the intriguing college prospects this season, and project how those players could fit in Chicago.

NO. 1: CALEB WILLIAMS – QUARTERLY – USC

Returning the card is currently a formality. Williams’ college tape is as good as it gets. The Bears raved about Williams’ character and personality after their meetings. A new era of Bears football begins on April 25.

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Click here for all our coverage of the QB phenomenon.

TRADE! BEARS SHIPPING NO. 9, 2025 SIXTH ROUND CHOICE FOR SAINTS IN EXCHANGE FOR NO. 14, 45 PICKS

By the time the Bears are on the clock, all three of their top wide receivers (Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze) are off the board. That includes highly touted left tackle Joe Alt. The way it looked in this mock draft, the Bears had a chance to draft the class’s first defensive player. But with JJ McCarthy still available, the Poles also had the opportunity to trade back a few spots and grab a second-round pick in the process. He makes the move knowing the team can still add a Week 1 contributor after the trade back.

NO. 14: OLU FASHANU – LEFT TACKLE – PENN STATE

It’s all about helping Williams succeed, so Polen adds Fashanu, a top pass protector. By selecting Fashanu, the Poland offer Williams a familiar face in the locker room, as the two were high school teammates at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. Fashanu has great size for a left tackle, and pundits love his ability to finish off an attack. variety of pass rush moves and his excellent on-field awareness. If there is a knock on Fashanu it is that he is not considered as strong a run blocker as he is at pass pro, but it would be difficult for him to match his pass pro ability. According to PFF, Fashanu never gave up a sack in 1,347 snaps for the Nittany Lions at left tackle.

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Braxton Jones isn’t as bad a tackle as his social media reputation suggests, but Fashanu would be an upgrade in pass protection. Adding Fashanu also allows the Bears to move Jones to backup duties, giving the team a big boost compared to their depth last year when Larry Borom struggled as a backup.

NO. 45: TROY FRANKLIN – WIDE RECEIVER – OREGON

Odunze has received a lot of attention as an incredible deep threat for good reason. He works incredibly well on the pitch and has put up big numbers with explosive plays. But if the Bears are looking for a vertical pass-catching option and are missing Odunze, Franklin would be an excellent consolation prize.

Franklin completed an impressive 73.5% of his targets in the 2022 and 2023 seasons and averaged 16.7 yards per reception during those two seasons. Franklin felt the end zone more than matched that explosive playmaking ability, with 22 touchdowns since 2022. Right now, Franklin functions best as a pure vertical threat, something the Bears have lacked for many seasons. That verticality also complements the skills of DJ Moore and Keenan Allen well, as they both do well in the intermediate areas of the field. If there is a knock on Franklin it is that he is inconsistent with contested catches and tends to drop at times.

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NO. 75: BRALEN TRICE – DEFENSIVE END – WASHINGTON

Bears fans yelling at their TVs for the team to select a pass rusher are finally getting their wish. Some consider Trice a bit undersized at just 245kg, but Trice makes up for its smaller size with great speed, agility and an excellent engine. Trice never stops on a play and made plenty of stops on his second and third attempts in Washington. That’s the type of play that could set Trice apart from other Day Two pass rushers for the Bears.

Trice translated all of these great qualities into great production for the Huskies. Over the two seasons, Trice had 16 sacks, 23.5 TFL, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. According to PFF, Trice ranked tied for 25th in the nation with a 19% success rate in 2023 (min. 100 pass rush snaps). None surpassed his 27.5% winning percentage in 2022.

Whether or not the Bears believe Gervon Dexter is ready to step in as the team’s starting three-tech tackle, the Poles will likely look to add to the group since Justin Jones left for Arizona during the offseason.

Taylor fits what the Bears are looking for in several key areas: He has big size and long arms, he can play nose or three-tech and he flashes explosive disruption from the middle of the line. The problem experts note is that his production is inconsistent. Taylor doesn’t want to push for starting spots as a rookie, but if the Bears can leverage his raw talent and have him play at a high level more often than not, he could develop into a formidable inside pass rusher.

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