The 2022 NFL Draft just wrapped up, but it’s not too early to start thinking about who the Chicago Bears could land in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Sure, lots of things will change between now and then. Players we thought would be drafted high will fall down draft boards while other players will climb draft boards with solid 2022 seasons.

But we already know what the Bears need in next year’s draft — a top wide receiver.

And there’s one specific wide receiver Chicago should be targeting.

LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte.

Bears
Sep 18, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (1) makes a 2 yard touchdown reception against Central Michigan Chippewas defensive back Donte Kent (19) during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Boutte looked dominant as a true freshman in 2022, catching 45 passes for 735 yards and five touchdowns for the Tigers. This past season, Boutte battled injuries and only played in six games (38 receptions for 509 yards and nine touchdowns).

The Louisiana native is a similar player to former LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who just had a terrific rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals.

As of right now, Boutte is being projected as a top 15-20 selection in next year’s draft (it’s worth noting that Boutte will turn 21 just after the 2023 NFL Draft).

The Bears are in the midst of a major rebuild. General manager Ryan Poles has worked hard to make wise financial decisions this offseason that improve Chicago’s roster while providing the team with future financial flexibility.

Landing a player like Boutte in the first round of next year’s draft would not only give quarterback Justin Fields another great offensive weapon, but it would also continue the theme of financial flexibility for Chicago.

The Bears’ Super Bowl window should open sometime after the 2022 season. They’ll have a quarterback on a rookie contract, which will allow the team to spend some cash in some other areas. If Chicago can land a potentially dominant wide receiver in Boutte, it will give the Bears even more room to make key free-agent additions.

If you’re a Chicago fan, I’d recommend keeping up with Boutte this season. If he has another solid season, he could be wearing a Bears uniform by this time next year.

Featured image via Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports