2024 NFL Draft

Mike Tannenbaum crafts dream outcome for Bears in recent 2024 NFL mock draft

The former GM has the Bears stumbling upon Marvin Harrison Jr. with the No. 9 pick

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How much luck can the Bears receive in a little over one year?

At the end of the 2023 season, a not-so-critical 4th & 20 for the Texans in their final regular season game helped lift them over the Indianapolis Colts for their third win of the season, giving the Bears the rights to the No. 1 pick.

Then, Ryan Poles and the Bears traded that pick to the Panthers for a haul, including the No. 9 pick, a second-round pick, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick and DJ Moore. And, as luck would have it, that 2024 first-round pick turned out to be the No. 1 pick for the Bears for a second straight offseason.

The Bears have had some crazy luck. And former general manager Mike Tannenbaum says the luck will continue to spill over into the draft for the Bears. Here's how he chalks up the Bears to draft in his latest mock draft.

No. 1 pick: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

This is a no-brainer. Especially with Justin Fields now on the Steelers, it's clear the Bears have zero intentions of trading this pick like they did last year. It's quarterback time in Chicago.

"Williams has rare talent and playmaking ability, and the trade of Justin Fields to Pittsburgh clears the road for him to come to Chicago," Tannenbaum wrote. "With a supporting cast of Keenan Allen, Cole Kmet, DJ Moore, D'Andre Swift and Gerald Everett, Williams is set up for speedy development as a pro and quick success.

"The sacks (83 over three college seasons) and fumbles (16) are concerning, but I believe Williams' fundamentals in the pocket (climbing instead of escaping backward) will improve. He averaged over 9 yards per pass attempt in each of his three college seasons (one at Oklahoma) and threw 93 TD passes."

No. 9 pick: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Here's where Tannenbaum's mock draft gets absurd. He has the draft's best receiver falling to the Bears with the No. 9 pick. To clarify, Tannenbaum wrote in his story this is how he would draft for all 32 teams, not how he expects the draft to unfold.

Here's what the ex-GM has to say about the Bears nabbing Harrison Jr. with the No. 9 pick.

"Chicago just traded for Keenan Allen and has a really solid set of playmakers, but how can you pass up Harrison at No. 9?" Tannenbaum asked. "He reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald -- he's excellent in contested catch situations, has great hands, and gets in and out of his breaks smoothly despite being 6-3 and 209 pounds. He just had his second straight season with 14 TDs and over 1,200 receiving yards (1,211). What better way to put Caleb Williams in a position to be successful than loading up his supporting cast?"

There is a litany of dominoes that need to fall for Harrison Jr. to make it to the No. 9 pick. It starts after three quarterbacks go with the first three picks in the draft with the Arizona Cardinals.

Instead of choosing the draft's best wide receiver, he opts for Arizona to take a quarterback with the No. 4 pick and trade Kyler Murray. Who does he draft as the Cardinals' next signal caller? Michigan's J.J. McCarthy. And he trades Murray to the Vikings for the No. 11 pick.

"I drafted J.J. McCarthy at No. 4 to take over under center for Arizona, so Murray becomes a trade candidate, and Minnesota is still searching for QB answers after missing out on the top four passers in the class," Tannenbaum wrote. "... So here's my proposition to clear some cap space for the Cards, officially start the McCarthy era in Arizona and fix the Vikings' QB issue. In my mind, the No. 11 pick for Murray straight up is too rich, and No. 23 -- Minnesota's other first-rounder -- on its own is not enough. So I'm attaching that third-rounder to level this out."

Let's say this happens. The Cardinals pivot away from Murray, who has been injured and overpaid. Still, four teams --- including the Chargers and the Giants --- stand before the Bears' No. 9 pick.

The Chargers just wiped out the top pieces of their receiving core to satiate their cap needs. They traded Keenan Allen to the Bears for a fourth-round pick; they cut Mike Williams, who signed with the Jets; and they lost Gerald Everett, who signed with the Bears.

Jim Harbaugh can't look at this roster and not see the gaping holes at wide receiver. They already have a franchise tackle in Rashawn Slater on the left side. And Justin Herbert finished 26th in sacks last season, evidence of the Chargers' only mild offensive line issues.

The Chargers only saw one significant offensive line loss this offseason in Will Clap, their center, who signed a one-year deal with the Bills. They may need long-term offensive line help, but their receivers are desolate. And if Harrison Jr. is there at No. 5, they'll likely take him. Tannenbaum instead takes offensive tackle Joe Alt out of Notre Dame for the Chargers with the No. 5 pick.

The same story goes for the Giants. They have quarterback troubles with Daniel Jones. But if Harrison Jr. is there for them at No. 6, it's hard to believe they wouldn't take him. Their wide receiver core is headlined by Darius Slayton and Wan'Dale Robinson. Can't imagine they pass on improving it with Harrison.

Tannenbaum has the Giants take a wide receiver, but it's not Harrison.

"You might be screaming for Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. here, but this WR1 race is really close, and I'm actually giving [Malik] Nabers the edge because of his speed," Tannenbaum wrote. "Nabers averaged 15.9 yards per reception for his career and scored 14 TDs last season. He's the most dynamic prospect in the class, as a route runner and as an after-the-catch playmaker."

The next two picks --- the Titans and the Falcons --- pretty much have their respective wide receiver cores set. The Titans paid Calvin Ridley a hefty contract to play for them. And the Falcons signed former Bear Darnell Mooney, while trading for Rondale Moore. They still have Drake London and Kyle Pitts, too.

Even then, it's difficult to believe Harrison falls this far in the draft. Teams with the most stacked wide receiver cores can justify taking him, considering he's one of the best overall players in the draft. There's a reason he's projected to go this high.

But if for some reason the draft happened to unfold with the Bears getting Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr. without giving up any assets to acquire either of them, that's a major win for the Bears front office. You could hand Poles the NFL's Executive of the Year award before anyone plays any games this season.

Just know it's likely not going to happen come April 25.

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