Re-Grading the Bears' 2023 Draft Class One Year In

The Bears drafted 10 rookies in the 2023 NFL draft, which picks were a win, and which were a loss?
Carolina Panthers v Chicago Bears
Carolina Panthers v Chicago Bears / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The 2023 Chicago Bears were a roller coaster ride that you thought you liked, then you hated, then you liked again, hated once more, and then cheered for at the end because your "friend" that annoys you (Carolina Panthers) ended up throwing up on themselves during the ride. Redemption stories were all around, like Matt Eberflus (almost typed out Nagy by accident) taking this team to new heights on defense after a horrible start, or Justin Fields doing his best to make a case for being "The Guy" after we all buried him week 11 at Detroit. Like I said, a rollercoaster ride.

Given the team's volatile nature, a few of these rookies had to make an immediate impact. Ryan Poles selected 10 of them in the 2023 draft, and Da Windy City thinks it may be worth it to rehash each rookie's season and properly regrade each pick.

I, a simple man, will just grade each as a win or loss though, because who has time for letter grades anymore.

Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee: Win

Wright was selected as the 10th overall pick in the draft, and being named the starting right tackle on a line that needed much improving was the simple choice here. Big, strong, fast, and durable, Darnell started all 17 games for the Bears and made a storng first impression. Although some tough learning moments all rookie tackles have, he is a worthy recipient of the esteemed "Win" designation.

Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida: Win

Dexter had to wait for his time to see the field in 2023. When given the chance, he made us curious for more. He recorded 20 total tackles (13 solo), 2.5 sacks, and 10 QB hits. Nothing horrible, nothing too great. I'm an easy grader and excited to see a step up this next year, so this pick is a win as well.

Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami: Win

Tyrique personified improvement. He is also constantly on the hunt for the opportunity to lay someone out. He played in 16 games for the Bears in 2023 and snagged 4 picks while deflecting 16 passes - tied for the most by a rookie. This is an easy win grade.

Zach Pickens, DT, South Carolina - Loss

Pickens was an interesting pick after the team selected Gervon Dexter in a previous round. He played in all 17 games but did not make much of an impact. You'd hope to see more going forward, but not every pick can be a win. Loss from me.

Roschon Johnson, RB, Texas - Win

A literal human wrecking ball, Roschon was refreshing to watch early in the year. A few of my pals were lobbying for him to be the starting back. However, no standout games nor movement up the depth chart throughout his rookie campaign makes this a "tweener" pick. If I did do letter grades, this would be a C. C is a passing grade where I come from, so a win here (I think he will be good in the future).

Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati: Loss

Scott was a miss. He didn't take advantage of his chances and now with a bolstered receiving core in Keenan Allen, and a presumed 2024 rookie star in Rome Odunze, it doesn't seem like Scott will be getting on the field much. Loss.

Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon: Loss

Sewell played in 13 games for the Bears, but didn't get many reps at his linebacker position. The Bears are stacked at backer, with TJ Edwards, Tremaine Edmunds, and Jack Sanborn. If Sewell wants to make an impact at linebacker in 2024, it may not be in the navy and orange. I have this one chalked up as a loss.

Terell Smith, CB, Minnesota: Loss

Smith is interesting. His statistics from 4 games in 2023 are surprisingly good. 49 tackles, 3 TFLs, and a forced fumble in limited playing time is encouraging. I think the pick in theory is a win, as he may grow into a starter at some point, but Steveson, Gordon, and Jaylon Johnson are standouts on this roster, and I don't see Smith making much of a contribution because of that. Loss.

Travis Bell, DT, Kennesaw State: Loss

This is hard, hah. A 7th round pick that we didn't expect much from. He was a practice squad player before moving over to Atlanta and eventually the Bengals. This is a loss, but there wasn't much of an expectation here.

Kendall Williamson, S, Stanford: Loss

Another, sad but true, loss. Williamson spent the entire year on the practice squad.

That's all of them. Sadly, Tyson Bagent wasn't drafted, but if he was, that pick would've been a clear win. He is a suitable backup for Caleb Williams and should probably be on this roster as long as he'd like. Honestly, there are more losses here than I would have expected, but I think the top picks and main contributors are real winners. Ryan Poles seems to have a solid head on his shoulders, and I will continue to trust his decisions as we go forward.

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