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
9 of 9
Bears, Byron Murphy II
Chicago Bears, Byron Murphy, II / Tim Warner/GettyImages

If for some reason Ryan Poles can land a haul from one of the teams outside of the top 15, then trading down to the 16 through 20 range could be a real possibility. I hope he doesn't go down any further though.

16. Byron Murphy, II - DT - Texas

The next-best defensive tackle in the 2024 NFL Draft class is Byron Murphy, II. In fact, some have Murphy ahead of Newton in their rankings. I do not. Murphy brings a little more versatility than Newton, but he is also better suited as a 3T than a true 1T or nose tackle. Murphy has a elite explosiveness off the line and has a relentless motor. He finished with five sacks in 2023 but his potential to get to the QB at the NFL level is even greater.

17. Cooper DeJean, CB - Iowa

Finally a cornerback. This is because I assume that the Chicago Bears are going to re-sign or at least franchise tag Jaylon Johnson. With Johnson on the roster, cornerback drops down the need list drastically. If he's allowed to walk then corner shoots up the board. Cooper DeJean is my 11th-ranked prospect overall, but 17th for the Bears. At 6'1" and over 200 pounds, DeJean brings some serious size to the field. Certain routes can impact his hip flexibility, causing him to struggle to mirror receivers, but he has elite tracking skills and is a true technician. I expect him to be a great corner.

Some think he can transition to safety if needed too. Maybe.

18. Tyler Nubin, S - Minnesota

Speaking of the safety position, the Chicago Bears need to address the free safety spot now that Eddie Jackson was given his pink slip. Enter Tyler Nubin. Nubin is my top safety in the draft class. He is actually out of St. Charles, IL — we know how Ryan Poles loves adding local guys. Nubin has good size and speed. He isn't afraid to make hits, something fans complained about when it came to Jackson's game. He has a high football IQ and looks like he could develop into a strong leader. This is extremely important for the safety position. He has above-average ball skills and puts himself in a good position to make some big plays.

19. Nate Wiggins, CB - Clemson

Another tall corner is Nate Wiggins. Wiggins is listed as 6'2" but doesn't have the same build as Cooper DeJean. He is lighter at around 185 pounds. Wiggins has a better ability to mirror receivers due to having better movement and agility than DeJean. I'd love for either of these corners to be on the Bears roster though if things don't work out with Jaylon Johnson.

20. Calen Bullock, S - USC

Finally, the last player to make my Chicago Bears top-20 draft prospects list is Calen Bullock. Bullock is another safety prospect who I think could make an immediate impact on this roster now that Eddie Jackson is gone. The only problem with both Nubin and Bullock is neither are in my top 20 overall. Both have first-round grades though and if Ryan Poles wants to lock in a top safety early, then he'd have to somewhat reach for one.

Bullock is a true center fielder at the safety position. He has great ball skills and natural instincts. He doesn't tackle as well as Nubin but I don't think it will become a true liability. In fact, I think he ends up being similar in that regard to Jackson — although I found the tackling issues fans screamed about to be over the top regarding Jackson. No matter if the Bears go Nubin or Bullock, they need a veteran presence through free agency too.


Who do you have on your Chicago Bears big board?