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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Oct 21, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Jackson Powers-Johnson (58)
Oct 21, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Jackson Powers-Johnson (58) / Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports

1.27: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C | Oregon

I think many fans would love the outcome of selecting Jackson Powers-Johnson in this draft. He wasn't my top center prospect to start because I was concerned that the quick-paced offense Oregon runs limited his ability to showcase his true ability. I was excited to see him perform at the Senior Bowl this year. Powers-Johnson did not disappoint. He showed just how powerful he is in both the running game and the passing game. I'm a big fan of Zach Frazier out of West Virginia too, but I do think Powers-Johnson has a slightly higher ceiling.

Here are my original notes on Powers-Johnson from my 2024 NFL Draft prospects rankings:

Most have JPJ as the top center in the draft. I like him very much too -- very powerful. He has a solid bend and strong anchor to his frame. Holding him at the bottom of tier 1 while I await to see what he does at the Senior Bowl. Oregon ran a very quick passing attack (hold blocks for less time) and 2023 was the first year as a full-time center. Run blocking is elite -- pass blocking he sometimes gets pushed back early, but recovers nicely. Pad level is too high at times (reason why he gets pushed back initially).

Ryan Poles traded for Ryan Bates and I just don't see him as the answer at the center position. It appears that Poles felt similarly since he also signed the Rams' center in 2023 Coleman Shelton. The center position has not been enough of a priority for the Bears as of late and it has shown. Adding Powers-Johnson shows that the team is making a change and focusing on the trenches in a way that matters. First Darnell Wright at right tackle last year and now arguably the top center in the draft this year. The Bears are making the right moves in this mock draft.

Strengths

  • Elite run-blocking ability
  • Power
  • Athleticism
  • Mauler
  • Hand strength and technique

Weaknesses

  • Arm length
  • Can be caught too upright at times
  • Inconsistent footwork can make him susceptible to quicker defensive linemen