09/24/2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks offensive lineman Ricky Stromberg (51) signals during the second quarter against the Texas A&M Aggies at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports
Private visits are not an automatic revelation that a team will call up a player. Often they are used as reconnaissance missions about players they are unsure about. In other cases, they are used to recruit pitches for players who may not get drafted. In any case, the message is clear. The team likes the player enough to be interested. The Chicago Bears are no different. After the first waves of freelancers passed, GM Ryan Poles began meeting with several players before the draft.
Each team is allocated a total of 30 private visits per cycle. Most of the time, such visits are not made public. However, an ordered view always slips through the cracks. Based on the latest information available, the bears have met at least seven prospects privately. It’s probably more. Here are their names and what they can bring to the table if this team is interested in drafting them.
The Chicago Bears are sticking to their theme.
Deslin Alexandre (EDGE, Pitt)
Probably the least talked about member of the Pitt line of defense to enter the draft. Calijah Kancey and Habakuk Baldonado get the biggest hype. Alexandre still remained a stable, reliable player with 16.5 sacks and 29.5 tackles for one loss in four seasons. He has the size and long arms that the bears are looking for, and plenty of strength to hold his own against the run. Teams will also love its non-stop engine.
Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia)
Everyone knows the story by now. Many believe that his sheer talent makes him the best prospect in the entire draft. Big, strong, fast and fast. He can do things that most defensive tackles can’t. Trouble is, he seems to be a mind thing. Carter has questions surrounding him about poor work ethic, which weren’t helped when he showed nine pounds overweight on his per day. Add in the recent arrest for street racing and the red flags are hard to ignore.
Karl Brooks (DL, Bowling Green)
He has dominated his level of competition for the past two years with 17.5 sacks and 30.5 tackles for a loss. He’s quick off the snap, has the burst to corner blockers and shows a strong motor to end plays. The hard part is finding its fit. He played in college defensive end but doesn’t have the size or length for it in the NFL. Maybe the Chicago Bears see him as a future threesome.
Jaelyn Duncan (OT, Maryland)
It’s hardly a secret that the Bears are looking for some tackle help, especially after dealing with the finest veterans on the free hand. Duncan fits her profile. He’s an outstanding athlete for his height (6’6, 303 lbs) and has the length to tackle. He would fit well into a zone blocking scheme. The problem some reviewers have is his behavior. They think he’s too passive. Not mean enough. A private meeting will help answer these questions.
Paris Johnson (OT, Ohio)
Possibly the best offensive tackle in the 2023 draft, depending on who you ask. There’s no denying that Johnson is a physical specimen. He’s 6’7 with 36 inch arms and moves well for his height. He played his best football for the Buckeyes last season and also knows Justin Fields. Talent is not an issue for him. The Bears need to figure out if he would be willing to switch to proper tackle since he never played it during his collegiate career.
Ricky Stromberg (C, Arkansas)
Lucas Patrick was a flop. Sam Mustipher is a backup. This team needs a final solution at the center. Stromberg can be that guy. The wide zone requires a center that is highly conscious and good at moving in space. Both are core strengths of his game. He plays with desirable bite and toughness. To top it off, he’s a die-hard Bears fan. There’s no denying that he could be a quality extension somewhere in the 3rd or 4th round.
Payne Durham (TE, Purdue)
With the addition of Robert Tonyan, drafting a tight end is less of a priority. However, there is not too much talent in one position. Durham is another of those two-way guys. It’s big, long, and a sound blocker. While he won’t be a separator in the passing game, he has a natural feel for catching football. He can be a legitimate target in 3rd place and in the red zone. The Bears got a good look at him at the Senior Bowl. They seem interested in researching further.