Bears mock draft: Ryan Poles gets Caleb Williams AND Marvin Harrison Jr.

Bears mock draft: Ryan Poles gets Caleb Williams AND Marvin Harrison Jr. originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

New QB or Marvin Harrison Jr.? That’s largely been the debate for what the Bears should do at the top of the draft.

The team has the No. 1 overall pick, for the second year in a row, so they’ll have the unique opportunity to do whatever they want at the top of the draft. GM Ryan Poles can draft his first quarterback and reset the clock for a bigtime QB contract with one of two highly-touted prospects. Or he can pick a dynamic wide receiver, who some believe is the most talented player on the board, to help whoever ends up under center.

But what if he could do both?

That’s what we’re going to explore in this mock draft. As always, this mock draft is not an attempt to predict what the Bears will actually do when they’re back in the War Room next offseason. That’s impossible. Nor is it meant as a recommendation of what the Bears should do. This mock draft is meant as an opportunity to dig into some of the intriguing college prospects this season, and how those players may fit in Chicago.

Last year, Ryan Poles passed on picking a new quarterback and traded away the No. 1 pick for a DJ Moore and a bounty of other draft selections. He can’t resist the opportunity to add a young, talented QB again, though. There are reasons to believe Justin Fields can succeed as an NFL quarterback, but he’ll need to be paid a hefty contract soon and the Bears aren’t quite ready to contend for Super Bowls yet. So Poles opts to trade Fields, draft Williams and give the Bears more runway to win with a QB on a rookie deal.

Williams has all the same big-play upside that Fields brings to the offense. He’s a threat to score with his legs, has a top-notch deep ball and can turn busted plays into explosive gains with his off-script improvisations. Ball security issues cropped up with nine fumbles this season, but over the breadth of his career, Williams has taken very good care of the football. He’s also effective working as a rhythm and timing passer. There’s a reason he’s one of the most highly-touted quarterback prospects since Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence came out in 2020 and 2021.

TRADE! BEARS RECEIVE NOS. 4, 133 PICKS FROM CARDINALS IN EXCHANGE FOR NOS. 9, 110 AND 2025 SECOND-ROUND PICK

Poles has never been shy about making big-time trades to get his guys, and he pulls off another blockbuster on draft night. When the Patriots opt to go with LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers with the No. 3 overall pick, Poles rushes to call the Cardinals and puts together a package to move up five spots so he can pair a dynamite pass catcher with his new QB. He manages to keep his third-round pick, too.

NO. 4: MARVIN HARRISON JR. – WIDE RECEIVER – OHIO STATE

After two down years with the team, Darnell Mooney’s time in Chicago could be done. Whether or not he sticks around, the team will need a new No. 2 wide receiver. With Harrison Jr., one could argue they get a second WR1.

Harrison Jr. can do it all and beats defenses in a variety of ways. He’s great off the line, he’s a wonderful route runner and boasts phenomenal hands when catching the ball. Beyond the raw talent and technique, Harrison Jr. has also been lauded for his top-notch work ethic and supreme competitive drive.

Over the past two seasons, Harrison Jr. caught 144 passes for 2,474 yards and 28 touchdowns. He won the Biletnikoff Award in 2023, which recognizes the best wide receiver in the nation and finished fourth in Heisman voting.

He’s as blue-chip as blue-chip gets.

NO. 75: RUKE ORHORHORO – DEFENSIVE TACKLE – CLEMSON

The Bears have a bigger need at defensive end, since they’ll need to find someone to rotate in with DeMarcus Walker opposite Montez Sweat. But if they decide not to bring back Justin Jones, the team will need to add an interior player as well.

Orhorhoro doesn’t get the same attention as Johnny Newton or T’Vondre Sweat do, but he checks several boxes for Matt Eberflus and the Bears defense. First, he’s equally effective defending the run as he is rushing the passer. Orhorhoro is a big dude– he’s 6’4”, 295 lbs.– but he moves really well for his size. He gets off the ball well and can shoot the gap or beat one-on-ones when he has the opportunity. Second, he’s got a good motor and makes plays in pursuit. If Orhorhoro isn’t the first player to the ball, he’s usually not far behind and doesn’t quit on the play. Finally, he’s a versatile player who can line up practically anywhere on the defensive line. For the most part, Orhorhoro lined up in the b-gap for the Tigers, but he played nose tackle and even some defensive end. Eberflus loves players he can move around the formation and values the flexibility those types of players bring to the table.

Finally, there’s good reason to believe Orhorhoro’s best ball is ahead of him. He only started playing football during his junior year of high school, so he’s relatively new to the game compared to most draft prospects.

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