Bears Mock Draft Reaction: Alabama’s Will Anderson would be a pass-rush threat

Because as much as the Bears will have to build around quarterback Justin Fields in the future, the team of general manager Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus must also become significantly better at attacking the opponents.

You don’t have to look at the stats to know that the Bears defense is struggling to reach — and beat — the quarterbacks every week. But here we go (per TruMedia):

  • Sacks – 16, tied for last on 31st
  • QB Hits – 34, ranked 32nd
  • Overall print — 94, 31st place
  • Third down conversions – 49.9 percent, #31
  • Opposing QB passer rating – 95.1, ranked 24th

Yes, the Bears could still get more weapons for Fields and there should be an opportunity to improve the offensive line this offseason, but we’ve seen games where Fields can set record numbers but the Bears can’t stop the opposition.

If Fields is the game changer on offense, this is the draft to find a game changer on defense.

In the first mock draft, the first mock draft for Dane Brugler the athleteDraft analyst, the Bears selected Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. as the second overall pick.

Jahn’s: Fishman, let’s start with the pickaxe itself. As of today, the Bears hold the second overall pick. They are one of three teams with three wins. But the only reason the Bears are ahead of the Lions and Seahawks — who acquired those picks from the Rams and Broncos, respectively — is because they played one more game. Bears bye week is a week away. The on-time tiebreaker doesn’t help the Bears in draft order. However, the Bears may be looking at a top-four pick if they’re stuck on three or four wins. There are currently four 4-8 teams and five 4-7 teams. The Lions and Seahawks are both 3-7. What I’m getting at is that the bears will have an opportunity to consider the top players in their respective positions and also trading opportunities.

fish tank: They will be underdogs in each of the remaining games. This will be the Bears’ best draft pick since 2017. Ryan Pace had to wait until this draft 17 – his third – for his first top five pick. The Poles should get it on his second opportunity, which could help speed up what he’s trying to achieve. However, it’s rare, Jahnsy, to be in a situation where fans are seeking losses to draft the position when the franchise quarterback suspect is in place. Typically, teams at this position are the ones who need a quarterback. Week 18 could be interesting for the draft position if the Vikings have nothing to play. Bear coaches – and players – will still want to win. But when we get to that mock pick, having a top 3 pick can make a world of difference to getting a potential franchise switchover.

Jahn’s: It could be Anderson. As a junior, Anderson won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for college football’s best defensive end last year. He made 17.5 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss for the Crimson Tide to also earn unanimous first-team All-America honors. That’s an insane amount of production, even for an Alabama player. Anderson’s numbers have fallen this season. But he still has 10 sacks. Anderson could go to Halas Hall and be an instant Day 1 starter. Last year, three edge-rushers were placed in the top six: Travon Walker (first, Jaguars), Aidan Hutchinson (runner-up, Lions) and Kayvon Thibodeaux (sixth, Giants). All three are starters. Hutchinson might be the best. But Anderson seems to have the potential to be better than all three.

fish tank: So much about the bears’ defensive struggles has to do with their inability to sway the passer with four rushers — let alone when they blitz. You need that guy up front who can ruin a game and Anderson has that potential. You can build so much around this type of edge rusher. I was really impressed that Hutchinson saw him in person for the first time when the Lions came to Soldier Field. He changed the game by defending Fields. Sure, Fields still had sensational moments, but Hutchinson helped force the pick-six and had a sack. After the deal with Larry Ogunjobi fell through, the Bears didn’t put many resources into the front seven. This would be their opportunity to address a premium position in a big way. But who else could they consider for number 2? Or if they trade back a few spots?

Jahn’s: Teams will call. Maybe a lot of them. It’s still a QB-driven league, and the Bears have theirs in fields. The Panthers, Saints, Lions, Colts and Falcons could all be looking for their next quarterback. They all have a top 15 pick. The bears should spend as much time as possible preparing for potential trading scenarios. In his first draft, Poles added picks on Day 3 to increase his catch and improve his player hit rate. In his second, the Poles can do the same, but on the first two days of the draft.

fish tank: Georgia’s Jalen Carter, finishing third in Brugler’s mockery, is someone Bears fans can watch during the college football playoffs. He has 19 quarterback hats this season and we know, based on Ogunjobi’s contract numbers, how much this regime values ​​having a three technique. Brugler has five defenders in his top 10, a possible sign of draft strength that would be a big priority for the Bears. There’s also Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski, the product of Maine South, who should be one of the top offensive linemen. If the Pole wants to make a splash in the trenches, he has his options with the Bears’ first pick, but Anderson is the top guy.

(Top Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)