Bears go all USC in three-pick mock draft


If you’ve spent some time following NBC Sports Chicago’s Bears Talk Twitter handle, you know we love mock drafts around this time of year. If you listen to the Under Center podcast, there’s a good chance that you know I’m a big USC guy, too. So for our latest mock draft I figured why not blend the two? Shout out to my guy Josh Schrock for lightly roasting me on Twitter about adding a Trjoan to my last mock draft, and for inspiring this all-SC edition.

As always, these mock drafts aren’t an attempt to accurately predict what will happen when the picks start coming in for real on Apr. 27. That’s impossible. These mock drafts are meant to be a fun way to introduce fans to a wide variety of NFL prospects. So please, enjoy.


In this mock draft universe, Ryan Poles trades away the No. 1 overall pick to the Colts in exchange for the No. 4 pick. The hope is that the Colts and Texans each select a quarterback at the top of the draft, the Cardinals select either Will Anderson or Jalen Carter at No. 3, and then the Bears draft the remaining defensive stud at No. 4. However the Texans foil those plans quickly by drafting Anderson instead of a QB. That leaves Carter to go to the Cardinals, and Poles staring at his draft board wondering how he missed out on one of the two most highly-touted defensive prospects. And so, instead of reaching for a player with the No. 4 pick, Poles trades down again. This time it’s with the New York Jets who are ready for a new quarterback after two years of Zach Wilson, and who missed out on both Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr.


By the time the Bears are back on the clock, two big tackles they had their eyes on (Peter Skoronski and Paris Johnson), two cornerbacks (Devin Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez) and two DL guys (Tyree Wilson, Myles Murphy) are all off the board. So Poles turns to the offense and adds another playmaker to help Justin Fields and the passing offense. Addison doesn’t have the frame of a typical No. 1 wide receiver, but with Chase Claypool in town the Bears don’t need to hyper focus on a big-bodied “X”-type player. Addison creates separation with excellent route running and can be effective both in the slot and out wide. He found instant success as a freshman at Pitt in 2020 with 60 catches for 666 yards and four touchdowns, but really burst on the scene in 2021 when he caught 100 balls for 1,593 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. Addison transferred to SC ahead of the 2022 season and didn’t put up crazy numbers like that, but he was still very effective with a 59-875-8 line in 11 games. Addison won the Biletnikoff Award in 2021 which recognizes the best wide receiver in college football.


The Bears use the second-round pick they acquired from the Colts to address the defensive line, as they hoped to earlier. Tuipulotu lined up at defensive end more often than not at SC, but in Chicago he’ll take over the all-important three-tech job. Tuipulotu knows how to get off blocks and uses a wide range of moves on offensive linemen to do it. He’s equally effective against the run and the pass, with 29.5 TFLs and 19 sacks over the past two seasons, so he can be the true backfield disruptor the Bears need. But the biggest reason the Bears like Tuipulotu enough to make him a high second-round pick is his relentless motor. Tuipulotu never gives up on a play, and is exactly the type of player who will fit into Matt Eberflus’ H.I.T.S. system.


Poles uses the second-round pick he acquired from the Ravens in the Roquan Smith trade to bolster the offensive line. Vorhees has played a lot of games and a lot of different positions at SC, but he’ll slot in as Cody Whitehair’s eventual replacement at left guard for the Bears. Vorhees is equally capable as a run blocker and pass blocker and has the ability to recover and adapt quickly if he loses a rep at the snap. Again, what draws the Bears to Vorhees the most is his motor. He’s got the nasty streak the team covets and looks to drive defensive linemen into the ground whenever he can. If Vorhees cleans up a block early, he immediately looks to help another with block too. Vorhees has a bit of an injury history and he missed significant time in 2019, 2020 and 2022, so his draft stock could take a hit.

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