The 2022 Chicago Bears roster in January was terrible. Armed with the most cash and the keys to the draft, general manager Ryan Poles needed to start overhauling the roster after a tear-down last offseason. The Bears finished 3-14 and earned the number one pick in the 2023 NFL Draft with the league’s worst team.
Poles added a few starters in free agency and a number one wide receiver by trading the overall number one pick. He still needed to add starting bodies via the draft, and the Bears are currently projected to have two rookies from the draft start in Week 1 of the season.
According to Our Lads, offensive tackle Darnell Wright and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson are penciled in as starters for the 2023 season.
Chicago Bears offensive tackle Darnell Wright
Wright was the Bears’ first selection with the tenth overall pick of the draft. The former Tennessee star is projected as the Bears starting right tackle. Alex Leatherwood is predicted to be his backup heading into OTAs. Braxton Jones would stay at left tackle in this scenario, and Larry Borom is projected as his backup. Unless Leatherwood has made much progress from last season, one would assume that Borom would be a swing tackle to back up Wright or Jones.
Bears cornerback Tyrique Stevenson
Stevenson will be a name to follow all through OTAs and camp. The second-round pick from Miami is thought to have a high ceiling in Chicago. Our Lads has Stevenson slotted as the starting cornerback opposite Jaylon Johnson. They have second-year cornerback Kyler Gordon as the starting nickleback. ESPN has Gordon listed as the starting cornerback, with Stevenson as his backup.
One would assume Stevenson and Gordon will compete this offseason for playing time and possibly even a starting job. Poles hinted that Stevenson fits better as the outside corner versus the slot.
The Bears’ rookie defensive tackles are backups–as of now
Most Bears fans are eager to see the defensive line improve from 2022 after early picks in this draft. Poles selected two defensive tackles in the second round, Gervon Dexter Jr. and Zacch Pickens. Poles suggested after the draft that those players have the right physical frame the Bears wanted but will be project players for head coach Matt Eberflus’ staff to teach them the proper technique and fundamentals for his defense. Justin Jones and March free agency signing Andrew Billings are projected to be next season’s starters.
Poles needed to find a few starters in the draft class for the 2023 team. Unfortunately, the defensive end position was the easiest position to replace outside of offensive tackle. Due to the run-on pass rushers at the end of the first and beginning of the second round, the Bears didn’t add to the position in the draft. They have several options in free agency if they want to boost the position for this season.
The Chicago Bears 2023 should feature more starters by 2024
Dexter and Pickens could be starters by the season’s end. It would be a huge win for Poles if they could win a starting job this season. Running back Roschon Johnson is projected as the Bears third running back behind starter D’Onta Foreman and backup Khalil Herbert. One would assume over the course of the offseason and though the season, Johnson could become the Bears’ featured running back.
Wide receiver Tyler Scott is listed as Darnell Mooney’s backup as the Bears’ slot receiver. He could eventually be Mooney’s or Chase Claypool’s replacement as a starter once free agency opens next offseason. If the Bears can grow the starting number in this class from two players to five by next season, the 2023 rookie class would be a major success for the front office.
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