2025 NFL mock draft round-up: Way-too-early predictions for Bears

2025 NFL mock draft round-up: Way-too-early predictions for Bears

The 2024 NFL draft is in the books, where the Chicago Bears welcomed five new rookies to the fold.

General manager Ryan Poles called this an “impact draft” for the organization, which includes landing quarterback Caleb Williams and wide receiver Rome Odunze in the top 10. They also added offensive tackle Kiran Amegadjie, punter Tory Taylor and edge rusher Austin Booker on Days 2 and 3.

Chicago is slated to hold their rookie minicamp on May 10, where we’ll get a first glimpse at the newcomers before the offseason program kicks into high gear.

While we’ll be glad to give mock drafts a rest for the foreseeable future, there were some way-too-early 2025 mock drafts that surfaced after the 2024 draft. We rounded those up, where experts make their first picks for Chicago — where edge rusher and defensive tackle were the popular selections.

Dec 2, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive lineman Patrick Payton (11) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Louisville Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

From ESPN’s Jordan Reid:

Round 1, Pick 15: EDGE Patrick Payton, Florida State

Jared Verse was the headliner of the Seminoles’ defensive front last season, but Payton was impossible to ignore opposite him on tape. The toolsy edge rusher is still trying to put it all together, but his game slowly began to click last season, when he had 7 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss and 39 pressures. Chicago added Austin Booker on Day 3, but it could still use someone like Payton to line up opposite Montez Sweat.

Dec 29, 2023; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Cade Klubnik (2) is brought down by Kentucky Wildcats defensive lineman Deone Walker (0) in the third quarter during the Gator Bowl at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

From The Athletic’s Dane Brugler:

Round 1, Pick 18: DT Deone Walker, Kentucky

Every time Walker rushes the passer, it feels like the field is tilted, which allows him to charge downhill and run through road blocks using his 6-6, 350-pound frame. Throw on the tape from the bowl game against Clemson and watch him work.

Oct 28, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Walter Nolen (0) moves up to the scrimmage line during the second quarter in a game against South Carolina Gamecocks at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

From USA Today’s Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz:

Round 1, Pick 17: DT Walter Nolen, Ole Miss

The former No. 1 overall recruit has the traits to rocket into the early portion of the first round, but the middle of the first round seems like the right spot until he puts everything together. Bears coach Matt Eberflus might grow impatient and want more from his interior rush than what 2023 draft picks Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens can provide.

Nov 18, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Jack Sawyer (33) celebrates a tackle during the first half of the NCAA football game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ohio Stadium.

From Pro Football Focus’ Max Chadwick and Dalton Wasserman:

Round 1, Pick 19: EDGE Jack Sawyer, Ohio State

The Bears’ offense is set for the future after the team selected Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze in the top 10 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Fifth-round pick Austin Booker is an intriguing developmental edge defender, but Chicago should still look to add more talent opposite Montez Sweat. Sawyer is an extremely well-rounded player as the only FBS edge to have earned 85.0-plus grades as a pass rusher and a run defender in 2023.

Nov 4, 2023; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Noah Thomas (3) runs after a catch during the first half against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

From CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson:

Round 1, Pick 15: WR Noah Thomas, Texas A&M

At 6-foot-6, Thomas is a huge target who flashed glimpses last season of being able to take over games.

Nov 18, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Ajani Cornelius (65) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Mountain America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

From FOX Sports’ Rob Rang:

Round 1, Pick 17: OT Ajani Cornelius, Oregon

As opposed to most Ducks flying south for the winter, this one flew west from the Bronx (by way of the University of Rhode Island), joining Oregon in 2023 as one of the more celebrated blockers in the transfer portal. The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder had no trouble with the jump in competition, earning Honorable Mention All-PAC-12 honors last year, allowing just a single sack and providing plenty of punch in the running game.

Sep 2, 2023; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Denzel Burke (10) lines up during the NCAA football game at Indiana University Memorial Stadium. Ohio State won 23-3.

From NBC Sports’ Eric Froton:

Round 1, Pick 18: CB Denzel Burke, Ohio State

And yet another Ohio State player flies off the board, with Burke allowing a 38% completion rate and forcing incompletions at a 24% clip. Though he was often tested downfield, averaging 14.8 air-yard per target, he still only allowed .75 yards per coverage snap with a 37.8 Raw QBR. With the Bears taking QB Caleb Williams, WR Rome Odunze and OT Darnell Wright with their top selections the last two drafts, they turn the page to the defensive side with Burke.

Sep 23, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Walter Nolen (0) in action during the first quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

From Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer:

Round 1, Pick 17: DT Walter Nolen, Texas A&M

The Bears have to address tackle for Matt Eberflus given the weak state of the position to support the edges, but they go back to finding even more explosiveness playing off Montez Sweat.

Nov 19, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Benjamin Morrison (20) intercepts a pass intended for Boston College Eagles wide receiver Joseph Griffin (2) in the first quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

From 33rd Team’s Marcus Mosher:

Round 1, Pick 17: CB Benjamin Morrison, Notre Dame

Benjamin Morrison is a four-star cornerback with elite speed (4.39 expected 40-yard dash). Morrison has been a two-year starter at Notre Dame, and his game has only improved with more experience. He might not have the size (6-foot) of some of the other top cornerbacks in the draft, but his athleticism is off the charts.

Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Donovan Jackson (74) blocks during the NCAA football game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Ohio State won 54-7.

From Bleacher Report:

Round 1, Pick 18: IOL Donovan Jackson, Ohio State

The Chicago Bears had an exceptional start to their 2024 draft class. The combination of quarterback Caleb Williams and wide receiver Rome Odunze should create a dynamic battery for years to come.

But the Bears lacked firepower through the rest of the draft class. So they can continue to build up their offense next year. Guard Teven Jenkins is a free agent after this season and fellow guard Nate Davis will be on the last year of his deal in 2025 with no guaranteed money remaining.

Ohio State’s Donovan Jackson could have been the best pure guard prospect in this year’s draft class. The two-time first-team All-Big Ten performer allowed only one sack and quarterback hit last season, per Pro Football Focus. He can immediately shore up the offensive interior.

Michigan defensive lineman Kenneth Grant (78) reaches out to sack Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) in the second quarter during the College Football Playoff national championship game against Washington at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Monday, January 8, 2024.

From The AP’s Ralph D. Russo:

Round 1, Pick 19: DT Kenneth Grant, Michigan

At 339 pounds, Grant has a high ceiling and rare quickness.

Dec 29, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Denzel Burke (10) reacts after making a tackle against the Missouri Tigers in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

From Yardbarker’s Seth Trachtman:

Round 1, Pick 14: CB Denzel Burke, Ohio State

The Bears were squarely focused on the offense this offseason and could turn back to defense next year. Cornerback is a possible need despite the team’s youth at the position, and Burke has been a strong three-year contributor for the Buckeyes.

Sep 30, 2023; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats running back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye (0) (L) celebrates with defensive lineman Deone Walker (0) (R) during the third quarter against the Florida Gators at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

From FanSided’s Chris McGlynn:

Round 1, Pick 19: DL Deone Walker, Kentucky

This is a name you are going to want to get familiar with because his tape is fun and perplexing all at the same time. Walker is a mountain of a man at 6’6″, 348 pounds. However, he tries to win more with speed and technique than power. He can be incredibly disruptive, but he is not as strong at the point of attack as you would hope for a player his size. If he can improve his lower body strength, I think we are talking about a potential top-10 selection. Chicago needs a boost on the interior of the defensive line. Walker would be an exciting watch in Matt Eberflus’ defense.

Purdue Boilermakers linebacker Nic Scourton (5) watches a replay on the scoreboard during the NCAA football game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue Boilermakers won 49-30.

Nov 17, 2023; Pullman, Washington, USA; Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Travis Hunter (12) celebrates a touchdown against the Washington State Cougars in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 26, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Isaiah Raikes (34) and defensive lineman Walter Nolen (88) in action during the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the LSU Tigers at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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