Ranking the top 20 prospects the Bears must have on their big board pre-Combine

Ryan Poles is creating his big board for the 2024 NFL Draft. The Chicago Bears own two picks in the top 10 and here are 20 prospects to consider.

Chicago Bears, Drake Maye
Chicago Bears, Drake Maye / G Fiume/GettyImages
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Bears, Troy Franklin
Chicago Bears, Troy Franklin / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

If Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears move down from the ninth pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, then these are the prospects to consider as long as they don't move down too far.

11. Troy Franklin, WR - Oregon

I absolutely love Troy Franklin. If the Bears miss out on Marvin Harrison, Jr., Malik Nabers, or Rome Odunze, I would not be upset if they landed Franklin instead. My biggest concern is his light frame, but we have seen many lighter-framed receivers succeed without injury lately. Franklin brings serious YAC ability. His hip movement allows him to make nice cuts in and out of his routes — making him one of the better route runners in the draft. He also has elite deep speed. Sign me up.

12. Brian Thomas, WR - LSU

When I look at Brian Thomas, I see a guy whom teams would take based on his potential. That scares me a bit for a rebuilding team like the Bears who need to hit on their top picks if they plan to turn this organization around quickly. That said, I'd take a shot on Thomas if desperate. He has a limited route tree and looks raw. Like Rome Odunze, separation can become a problem when facing press coverage. I see him as a larger Ted Ginn — someone who can run vertical routes and make big plays but lacks the ability to make an impact in the short and intermediate routes.

13. Jared Verse, EDGE - Florida State

Jared Verse is easily my favorite EDGE rusher for the Chicago Bears. He truly fits what Matt Eberflus does with his defensive ends. His explosiveness off the ball looks elite on film and he can get into the backfield very quickly. Verse does a great job sealing the edge and defending the run too. He will need to learn more counter moves to become a true great at the NFL level, but I have faith that learning from a guy like Montez Sweat could help him transition rather quickly.

14. Laiatu Latu, EDGE - UCLA

I love Laiatu Latu's hand-fighting ability — they are nasty. He has a strong burst off the ball too, but I have concerns about his consistency when playing with his hand in the dirt or standing upright. I find him to be a better fit as an OLB in a 3-4 base defense, but he proved he can be an edge rusher with his hand on the ground at the Senior Bowl. Latu has some serious medical concerns (neck) but I have him ranked here based on his last two years of play and assume he will be cleared. If he isn't, he will drop drastically.

15. Dallas Turner, EDGE - Alabama

Look at that. Three EDGE rushers in a row here in my rankings. This has to do with EDGE being a pretty big need for the Chicago Bears. Remember, these are ranking for the Bears and not in general. I haven't even listed a cornerback at this point and I have two in my top 15 otherwise. More on that later.

Dallas Turner is similar to Jared Verse. He is a versatile DE prospect who can move back into coverage — something that some defenses are doing more of lately — but also get after the quarterback. He has the size, strength, and speed you want from a first-round defensive end prospect. His burst off the ball isn't as good as Latu's or Verse's, but he is two years younger than Verse.