2024 NFL Draft

Bears use first-round pick on defense in Mel Kiper's updated mock draft

With Caleb Williams a lock at No. 1, the Bears now shift their focus to the ninth overall pick of the 2024 draft

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NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper released his updated, post free agency mock draft on Tuesday, and he's got the Bears bulking up on defense with the ninth overall pick.

Now that the Bears have Keenan Allen, the Bears no longer need to use their pick on a top receiver, according to Kiper. Instead, general manager Ryan Poles can shift his focus to an edge rusher to pair with Montez Sweat, or the offensive line. Kiper predicts the former, with the Bears taking Florida State's Jared Verse at No. 9.

"Verse's testing numbers at the combine were impressive, even if I didn't love his 2023 tape," Kiper wrote. "He was inconsistent at times, but at 5-foot-4, 254 pounds, he has a complete set of tools to be a devastating pass-rusher at the next level, if he can put everything together.

"The Bears have made a few shrewd moves this offseason, and if their rookie quarterback comes in and plays well, they could be challengers in the NFL North."

Verse finished this past season at Florida State with 41 total tackles and nine sacks, along with one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

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