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Peter Schrager mock draft features unique picks for Bears, GM Ryan Poles originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

One of the most plugged-in NFL reporters released his first mock draft of the year on Tuesday, and it’s chock-full of unique information and picks that buck popular trends. NFL Network’s Peter Schrager dropped a mock, not with picks that he necessarily recommends, but with moves based on what he’s heard after spending weeks on the phone with GMs and head coaches from around the league.

Here’s what he’s got for the Bears.

NO. 1 OVERALL: CALEB WILLIAMS – QUARTERBACK – USC

“As I’ve reported, the Bears had a great meeting with Caleb at the NFL Scouting Combine, followed by a pair of enjoyable dinners in Los Angeles (before USC’s pro day) and Chicago (before the quarterback’s visit to Halas Hall),” Schrager wrote. “The team is all in. And so, from what I’m told, is Williams.”

No surprise here. Williams has been the presumptive pick for the Bears for a long time now.

You can read all our coverage on the QB phenom here.

TRADE! BEARS SEND NO. 9 OVERALL PICK TO COLTS IN EXCHANGE FOR NO. 15 PICK, FUTURE SECOND-ROUND PICK

Here’s where things really take a big turn, compared to most mock drafts. Schrager has the Bears passing on the opportunity to select explosive wide receiver Malik Nabers to move back and pick up a future second-round pick.

The Colts land Nabers instead.

NO. 15 OVERALL: J.C. LATHAM – OFFENSIVE TACKLE – ALABAMA

“After piling up more draft capital by trading back, the Bears still land a stud offensive tackle,” Schrager wrote. “Latham could be the second OT taken on draft night — some teams like him that much. If the board falls this way, Chicago adds a big, pedigreed bookend who can join last year’s first-round tackle, Darnell Wright, in protecting the new franchise quarterback, Caleb Williams.”

Another zig where other mock drafts have zagged. With impressive defensive end Jared Verse still available, Schrager instead has GM Ryan Poles picking the third offensive tackle of the class in Latham.

At 6’6”, 335 lbs. Latham has the size to be a domineering tackle, both as a run blocker and pass protector. He was a two-year starter at Alabama and he’s still just 21 years old. Draft expert Dane Brugler noted in his epic prospect evaluation compilation “The Beast,” that Latham has some bad habits that he’ll need to clean up in the NFL, but that those habits are fixable. Overall, experts believe Latham’s best ball is still ahead of him.

One interesting wrinkle: Latham played right tackle at Alabama. If the Bears draft him with a top-15 pick, it wouldn’t make sense for them to view him as a depth piece, so would Poles move Latham to left tackle in this scenario? Or does he believe Darnell Wright can make the move to the left side in his second season?

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