Private visits are not an automatic revelation that a team will be drafting a player. Often they are used as fact-finding missions about players they may not be sure about. Other times they’re used for recruiting pitches on players that might go undrafted. Either way, the message is clear. The team likes the player enough to have interest. It is no different for the Chicago Bears. With the primary waves of free agency having passed, GM Ryan Poles has begun meeting with several players ahead of the draft.
Every team is allotted a total of 30 private visits each cycle. Most of the time, such visits don’t become public knowledge. However, an assorted view always slips through the cracks. Based on the latest information available, the Bears have privately met at least seven prospects. It is likely more. Here are their names and what they may bring to the table if this team has interest in drafting them.
The Chicago Bears are sticking to their theme.
Deslin Alexandre (EDGE, Pitt)
Probably the least talked about member of the Pitt defensive line entering the draft. Calijah Kancey and Habakkuk Baldonado get most of the hype. Alexandre still remained a steady, dependable player with 16.5 sacks and 29.5 tackles for a loss across four seasons. He has the size and long arms the Bears look for and plenty of strength to set the edge against the run. Teams will also love his non-stop motor.
Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia)
Everybody knows the story by now. Many feel he is the best prospect in the entire draft based on pure talent. Big, strong, fast, and quick. He can do things most defensive tackles can’t. The problem is he appears to be a head case. Carter has questions about poor work ethic surrounding him, which weren’t helped by showing up to his pro day nine pounds overweight. Throw in the recent arrest for street racing and the red flags are hard to ignore.
Karl Brooks (DL, Bowling Green)
He dominated his level of competition over the past two years with 17.5 sacks and 30.5 tackles for a loss. He’s swift off the snap, has the burst to beat blockers to the angle, and shows a strong motor to finish plays. The tricky part is finding his fit. He played defensive end in college but doesn’t have the size or length for that in the NFL. Perhaps the Chicago Bears see him as a future three-technique.
Jaelyn Duncan (OT, Maryland)
It’s hardly a secret the Bears are hunting for tackle help, especially after striking out on the top veterans in free agency. Duncan fits their profile. He’s a standout athlete at his size (6’6, 303 lbs) and has the necessary length for a tackle. He’d make a great fit in a zone-blocking scheme. The issue some evaluators have is with his demeanor. They believe he’s too passive. Not mean enough. A private meeting will help answer those questions.
Paris Johnson (OT, Ohio State)
Perhaps the best offensive tackle in the 2023 draft, depending on who you ask. There is no denying Johnson is a physical specimen. He’s 6’7 with 36-inch arms and moves well for his size. He played his best football last season for the Buckeyes and also knows Justin Fields. Talent isn’t an issue with him. The Bears must find out if he’d be open to moving to right tackle, having never played it during his college career.
Ricky Stromberg (C, Arkansas)
Lucas Patrick was a flop. Sam Mustipher is a backup. This team needs a definitive solution at center. Stromberg can be that guy. The wide-zone demands a center to be highly aware and able to move well in space. Both are core strengths of his game. He plays with desirable grit and toughness. To top it off, he’s a die-hard Bears fan. There is no denying he could be a quality addition somewhere in the 3rd or 4th round range.
Payne Durham (TE, Purdue)
Adding Robert Tonyan makes drafting a tight end less of a priority. That said, there is no such thing as too much talent at a position. Durham is another of those two-way types. He’s big, long, and a sound blocker. While he won’t be a separator in the passing game, he has a natural feel for catching the football. He can be a legitimate target on 3rd down and in the red zone. The Bears got a good look at him at the Senior Bowl. They seem interested in continuing to explore.
A lot of Bears fans will clamor for Poles to draft an Offensive Tackle at #9. They may give him a pass if he drafts a Defensive Lineman. But if he takes a Cornerback they will lose their minds. But, not me. This team is building through the draft. We need a CB2 just as bad as we need the other positions. Do you really want Kindle Vildor as the CB2 again? (Kyler Gordon is the Nickelback). Either Christian Gonzalez out of Oregon or Devon Witherspoon out of Illinois to replace Vildor would give us an elite backfield with no… Read more »
Hey Glen, Fields has already out done RGIII. RGIII was toast after season 1, plus Fields is far tougher and bigger than RGIII.
bearsfans still dont get the importance of an OT,if POLES doesnt fill this position with a high round OT then fields is as good as done.RG3 all over again with bummed knees!
No CB with pick #9 – DE and DT are both far more important!!
I doubt the Bears draft anyone at #9 – they will trade back and there will be potential partners! For an extra 3rd rd or 2nd rd pick depending on how far back. The 3rd rd picks could be used to move up in the 2nd rd.