Chicago Bears Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Gervon Dexter Sr., DT, Florida – Round 2
The Bears needed some youth for the inside of their defensive line, and Dexter was a late-riser in the draft process across a number of teams. While Dexter was streaky in college, he flashed some big-time ability and definitely has the skill set of an NFL starter.

In the ground game, the 6-foot-5, 318-pound Dexter can be an animal at the point of attack. There are time when Dexter absolutely manhandles offensive linemen, grabbing them and throwing them to the turf. He is very strong at holding his ground at the point of attack and not getting pushed out of his gap. Dexter uses his length to shed blocks and shows the quickness and athleticism to flow down the line to make tackles out of his gap. With his size and athleticism, Dexter can run and chase down the line to be really tough run defender. He has the potential to be an asset to Chicago’s run defense.

The weakness to Dexter’s game is pass rushing. In the past two seasons, Dexter contributed to the pass rush somewhat by bulling blockers back to collapse the pocket, but he he failed to shed them and make sacks. Dexter flashes some shocking twitch, quickness and athleticism, so the talent is there for him to do more. As a pro, Dexter needs to develop his hands and pass-rushing moves. If he can develop his pass-rush ability, Dexter could be a valuable three-down starter.

Dexter need to grow far more consistent for the NFL. He is a streaky player who flashes big-time ability, but also plays down to competition frequently. Team sources raved about Dexter’s athletic upside and his potential, but his uneven tape and not playing up to his ability really hurt his grades with teams.

The Bears have some journeymen projected to start on the defensive line, and before long Dexter could definitely pass them up for the starting nose tackle spot. If Dexter gets a little more consistent, he should be a solid starter.

2022: Kyler Gordon, CB
2021: Teven Jenkins, OT
2020: Cole Kmet, TE
2019: Riley Ridley, WR
2018: James Daniels, C
2017: Eddie Jackson, S
2016: Jonathan Bullard, DE
2015: Eddie Goldman, DT
2014: Kyle Fuller, CB
2013: Jonathan Bostic, LB

Most Likely To Bust

Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami – Round 2
Stevenson is a real boom-or-bust prospect for the Bears. On the field, Stevenson has nice size and speed to be a press-man corner. In 2022, however, he was torched in off-man and zone coverage. Multiple team sources told that Stevenson has bad football character and other off-the-field issues. Taking Stevenson in the second round was reach for Chicago given that multiple teams had dropped Stevenson off their boards completely because of the bad character. The Bears probably could have had Stevenson later and used pick No. 56 on other good available options like O’Cyrus Torrence, Kendre Miller, Tyler Steen, Zach Harrison, Jalin Hyatt or Cedric Tillman. I think Stevenson has serious bust potential in the NFL.

2022: Velus Jones
2021: None
2020: None
2019: David Montgomery, RB
2018: Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB
2017: Mitch Trubisky, QB
2016: Cody Whitehair, G
2015: Hroniss Grasu, C
2014: Ka’Deem Carey, RB
2013: Kyle Long, G

Potential Boom Pick

Darnell Wright, RT, Tennessee – Round 1
The Bears are hopeful that Braxton Jones can be the long-term starter at left tackle, but that created a hole on the right side. Chicago used its first-round pick to land an edge protector in Darnell Wright, and he should be an asset at keeping rushers out of the face of Justin Fields.

The strong and physical Wright (6-4, 315) has the skill set to be a starter in the NFL because he has quality size, athleticism, and quickness. In pass protection, he has enough quickness and athleticism on the edge to neutralize speed rushers. While Wright is not an elite athlete or especially fast, he is quick out of his stance and gets in position to wall off defenders. Wright gives up little ground to bull rushes and is able to anchor via his lower body strength to keep himself from getting pushed into the quarterback. Using solid technique, Wright gets good depth in his drop and is able to play the typewriter with his feet to mirror speed rushers. Wright has quality feet, and while they’re not elite, they’re above average.

In the ground game, Wright is nasty at the point of attack. He can knock defenders backward and drive them off the ball. Wright has the strength to control, turn, and manipulate defenders at the point of attack. With violence and tenacity, he will finish off opponents and pound them into the turf. While Wright is a mauler, he is able to hit blocks on the second level and as well as kick out to the perimeter. With a fighting temperament, Wright blocks through the whistle and sustains his blocks. He should be a solid run blocker as a pro.

Wright enters the NFL with a good amount of experience, so it should not take him too long to become a starter. It would not surprise me if he ends up becoming a very good pro. He has boom-pick potential for Chicago.

2022: Jaquan Brisker
2021: Justin Fields
2020: Jaylon Johnson
2019: None
2018: Roquan Smith, LB
2017: Adam Shaheen, TE
2016: Leonard Floyd, LB
2015: Kevin White, WR
2014: Will Sutton, DT
2013: Khaseem Greene, LB

Future Depth Player

Roschon Johnson, RB, Texas – Round 4
The Bears lost David Montgomery in free agency and replaced him with D’Onta Foreman, which is a downgrade. Foreman is a tough runner, but not as well-rounded as Montgomery. Johnson would have been the starter at most schools, but at Texas, he was stuck behind Bijan Robinson. While Johnson may not have a dominant trait to be a starter, he could be a nice backup running back who runs hard between the tackles and provides some physicality to ground attack. At the very least, Johnson should be good depth and a solid No. 2 running back in the NFL.

2022: Braxton Jones, OT
2021: Khalil Herbert, RB
2020: Trevis Gipson, DE
2019: Kerrith Whyte, DL
2018: Bilal Nichols, DL
2017: Tarik Cohen, RB
2016: Nick Kwiatkoski, LB
2015: Jeremy Langford, RB
2014: David Fales, QB
2013: Cornelius Washington, DE

Walt’s 2023 NFL Draft Grades:

10. Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee – A Grade
Drafting Darnell Wright over Peter Skoronski is interesting, as it means the Bears really didn’t think he could play left tackle for them. Wright certainly can. He’s an athletic tackle who didn’t surrender a sack to Hendon Hooker last year. He also shut down Will Anderson. Justin Fields has to be thrilled about this selection.

53. Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida – B+ Grade
Gervon Dexter is a lengthy, quick and strong defensive tackle with plenty of upside. The Bears lost Akiem Hicks recently, so a replacement was needed. I had Dexter pegged around this range, so this seems like a solid choice.

56. Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami – B Grade
The Bears desperately needed a second cornerback, and they selected a prospect who was once slotted in the first round. Tyrique Stevenson, however, slipped because of character concerns. However, he’s a talented, big corner who should provide an upgrade at the position.

64. Zacch Pickens, DE/DT, South Carolina – B+ Grade
It makes sense that the Bears would continue to add to their very weak defensive line. Zacch Pickens has a ton of upside as an athletic lineman. This is a solid choice to begin the third round.

115. Roschon Johnson, RB, Texas – B Grade
The Bears have taken the “other” Texas running back, which seems like a quality decision because the Bears don’t have the best backfield. Roschon Johnson is a big back with decent receiving ability for a player his size.

133. Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati – A- Grade
I had Tyler Scott going about 20-25 picks earlier than this, so I’m a fan of this value. Tyler Scott is a small receiver, but he’s extremely quick. He should be able to help Justin Fields.

148. Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon – A+ Grade
Noah Sewell doesn’t fill a need at all after the Bears spent so much capital on linebackers, but there’s no denying this great value. Sewell, a big linebacker who covers well for a player his size, should have been chosen on Day 2. This is a steal.

165. Terell Smith, CB, Minnesota – C Grade
Adding another cornerback makes sense, but I never had Terell Smith in my mock drafts. He’s an athletic cornerback with upside, but wasn’t a very good player at Minnesota. The Bears might be able to turn him into a decent player, but I have my doubts.

218. Travis Bell, DT, Kennesaw State – C Grade
Travis Bell is pretty limited athletically and comes from a school where he didn’t face much competition. He may have a hard time making the roster.

258. Kendall Williamson, S, Stanford – B+ Grade
Kendall Williamson is a tough safety who plays well versus the run and has good instincts. He’s not a good athlete at all, but he could fight for a role.

2023 NFL Draft Team Grade: A-. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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