Some mock drafts stick to the norm, while others take unconventional routes. analytics expert Cynthia Frelund, known for her unique mock drafts, raised eyebrows with her first 2024 mock draft, especially the Chicago Bears’ top pick.

In a departure from the expected choices like quarterback Caleb Williams or wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., Frelund projects the Bears selecting Notre Dame tackle Joe Alt at No. 1. This move surprised many, as Alt wasn’t considered the top choice in conventional mocks.

Frelund’s approach involves analyzing free agency data, market value projections, and teams’ cap space to predict selections that would most impact a team’s win total. She argues that Alt addresses the Bears’ offensive line issues, particularly the high pressure rate quarterbacks faced last season.

Despite this rationale, critics point out that the offensive line’s sack rates varied significantly with different quarterbacks, indicating that the line may not be the primary issue. Many argue that prioritizing a top target for quarterback Justin Fields, like Marvin Harrison Jr., would be a more sensible choice for the Bears.

In her mock, Frelund eventually has the Bears selecting wide receiver Malik Nabors at No. 9 to address their receiving needs. However, the unconventional approach has sparked debates over the validity of analytics in the draft and the importance of addressing critical positions, especially quarterback, with top talent.