Chicago Bears Mock Draft: Ryan Poles adds another first-rounder, builds up trenches

The Chicago Bears make multiple trades, adding a third first-round pick. Poles ends up with five picks in the top 100 and adds help in the trenches.

Chicago Bears, Michael Hall, Jr.
Chicago Bears, Michael Hall, Jr. / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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Brian Thomas Jr 11 runs the ball as the LSU Tigers take on Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium in Baton
Brian Thomas Jr 11 runs the ball as the LSU Tigers take on Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium in Baton / SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA

1.20: Brian Thomas, Jr., WR | LSU

I have Brian Thomas, Jr. as my WR5 in the 2024 draft class. Ahead of him is Troy Franklin. I find Franklin to be a more all-around receiver who brings plenty of positives to the field. My biggest fear with Franklin is his size. He has a lighter frame, but it should be noted that others with a similar build have succeeded at receiver over the last few years. Just look at DeVonta Smith and Jordan Addison. I chose to bypass my rankings and took Brian Thomas, Jr. at 20 instead.

When I watch Thomas' film, I see a player who could become a star in the NFL. The only problem is that his floor is drastically low. He is a physical specimen at 6'4" and 205 pounds while running a 4.33 40-yard dash. That is elite speed for a player of his size. The problem is that he has a very limited route tree. He reminds me of Christian Watson, or even worse, Kevin White. He fits the mold of a receiver who could become a complete bust, but the hope is he becomes Watson or maybe a bigger Ted Ginn, Jr. Thomas is a bit of a one-year wonder and that is alarming too.

What he does well is run verticle routes. He tracks the ball well and has adequate hands. He uses his body a little too much at times. Despite playing for three years, he is limited and somewhat raw. I'd like to see him expand his route tree and prove he can do more than attack the field deep. He will be a big-play receiver who could pair well with Caleb Williams' big arm though. Landing him at 20 eliminates some of the risk involved in taking a player like Thomas and I see this as a win for Chicago.

Strengths

  • Verticle routes
  • Elite speed and size combination
  • Ball tracking
  • High-pointing the ball

Weaknesses

  • Ability to separate off the line of scrimmage in press coverage
  • Route tree
  • One-year-wonder
  • Occasional focus drops