Surveying prospect fits for the Bears at the No. 9 selection

Broderick Jones, College Football, Jalen Carter, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, justin fields, NFL, Nolan Smith, Paris Johnson, Peter Skoronski, Quentin Johnston, Tyree Wilson, Will Anderson

After weeks of speculation, the Chicago Bears on Friday traded the No. 1 pick in next month’s NFL Draft to the Carolina Panthers/

Now selecting eight picks later, the Bears could go in several directions at No. 9. Indeed, with the top of the draft likely to be quarterback-heavy, Chicago might come away with a bargain in that slot.

When looking over the possibilities, logically, it would make sense to use the pick on some protection for quarterback Justin Fields, who looks to be staying put after Friday’s trade. 

If the Bears decide to go the o-line route, they may have the pick of the litter. In his latest mock draft following the NFL combine, ESPN’s Todd McShay had the Bears trading down twice to the No. 7 pick, ultimately pegging them to select offensive lineman Peter Skoronksi out of Northwestern. 

Pro Football Focus ranks Skoronski as the best tackle in the draft and falling to nine isn’t out of the realm of possibility given the quarterbacks in this class. If Skronski does go off the board early, the Bears could choose another option for the line, such as versatile Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson Jr. or Georgia’s Broderick Jones, who ran the fastest 40-yard dash among linemen at the NFL Combine. 

Chicago could also go with a selection for the defensive side with their newly-acquired pick. In need of help on the edges, Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson or Georgia’s Nolan Smith may be available for the Bears and would make an immediate impact.

Or something else. Maybe the Bears throw logic out the window and draft for sizzle at wide receiver, taking Jaxon Smith-Nijgba or Quentin Johnston in an attempt to load up on offense. After acquiring a No. 1-caliber receiver D.J. Moore in Friday’s trade, though, that kind of move seems unlikely. 

There’s always a chance the Bears benefit from Jalen Carter or Will Anderson falling in the draft, too. And while likely out of reach, they’d be near-no-brainers with the ninth pick, Carter’s recent legal issues notwithstanding. 

Regardless of who the Bears pluck from this rookie pool, they’ll likely walk out of the upcoming draft having added another starter to a squad which is quickly growing into a frisky NFC contender.

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