Chicago Bears will need a wide receiver in next year’s draft
It’s no secret national analysts don’t think highly of the Chicago Bears’ prospects in the 2022 regular season. One analyst has the Bears taking a wide receiver with the second pick of the 2023 draft. That would mean the Bears would be heading for a disaster on the field this season.
The Bears desperately need an elite wide receiver on their roster going forward. Currently, quarterback Justin Fields is tasked with throwing to a receiving unit PFF ranks as the worst in the NFL. Darnell Mooney is currently the Bears’ number one receiver, but he doesn’t make up for the lack of depth at the position.
Matt Miller, an NFL Draft analyst for ESPN, has the Bears taking Jaxon Smith-Njigba, wide receiver, Ohio State, with the second overall pick.
Chicago Bears picking Smith-Njigba at number two would be cooking most draft boards
Smith-Njigba being drafted to the Bears could be a great thing in the future. He is familiar with FIelds, as both are Ohio State products who spent time together on the field. Most Bears fans who want this compare this possibility to Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, who were teammates at LSU before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Probably not though. Chase, in my opinion, is a much better receiver. Most draft boards rate Smith-Njigba as somewhere near the top ten but below the second pick. If the Bears want Smith-Njigba, they need to trade down and receive hefty compensation from teams looking to draft a quarterback or defensive lineman.
The Bears will also need a defensive lineman in next year’s draft. As I’ve written before, it makes more sense for the Bears to get a franchise-changing defensive lineman with the first-round pick. Smith-Njigba has great skills but lacks the size at 6-foot-0, 198-pounds to be a true “X” receiver, which is what the Bears need.
Draft Profile for Chicago Bears potential prospect Smith-Njigba
The NFL Draft Bible for Sports Illustrated recently wrote a draft bible for Smith-Njigba. Here’s what they wrote:
Though he was buried behind two 2022 first-round draft selections in the 2021 season, Jaxon Smith-Njigba showed excellent agility and route running to go with above-average lateral burst and work after the catch. While his overall speed, play strength, and hands do not move the needle, Ohio State’s new top receiver is a high-floor player who can start early in the NFL.
Agility and route running are two things the Bears will be lacking in 2022. But for the Bears to be competitive in 2023, they’ll need an experienced wide receiver who brings those tools and more to the Chicago Bears. Smith-Njigba probably won’t be the “Chase” Fields need to succeed next season.
But he can get fast:
My #1 WR prospect for the 2023 NFL Draft:
Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
6’0 197lbs 4.4 40
A polished route runner with serious after the catch playmaking ability.
Get this… 94 catches 1,606 yards as the #3 WR behind Olave and Wilson last year..
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