At the conclusion of the regular NFL season, to the surprise of some, The Chicago Bears are in the driving seat when it comes to the 2023 NFL Draft. For weeks leading up to the end of the season, The Houston Texans appeared to be nailed on for the number one pick. However, in a major plot twist, featuring Lovie Smith’s ultimate “F you” to the Texans hierarchy, The Bears sit in the coveted spot.
Now The Bears GM Ryan Poles has a choice to make. Does he stick at number 1 and pick, or does he play the field and shop the pick around for a potentially franchise changing haul? Let’s explore the options. (For the record, these are not all scenarios I would advocate, but simply wish to play out!)
Stay and Pick – Best Player
The Bears could remain in the number 1 spot and simply pick a player. It’s fairly safe to say that most people with either have Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson or Georgia’s defensive lineman Jalen Carter as the top player in this year’s draft. The Bears allowed the 4th most yards per game. They also had the 2nd worst run defence in the league in 2022. Adding to this, they ranked dead last in QB sacks with a miserable 20 across the whole team. Its safe to say that either Carter or Anderson would be a welcome addition to Chicago’s front seven.
Stay and Pick – Quarterback
However, the NFL today is a Quarterback driven game. If you only think you have your guy, you probably don’t. To say Justin Fields has had a rough introduction to life a signal caller in the NFL has been an understatement. Constantly under fire behind a porous offensive line, and working with less than stellar receivers, he has not had all the tools required to succeed. Fields has shown glimmers of star quality as a runner this year. He came within touching distance of the single season record. Yet, Fields, for some, has not shone as brightly as may be expected. His passing metrics are not anything to write home about. A 17/11 TD to interception ratio, and a pass completion percentage hovering around the 60% mark are decidely average.
The cliché states the best ability is availability. Fields has been banged up over his time in the league, admittedly not all his own fault, and has missed time on the field also.
Could the Bears move on at the position? There is a new GM and head coach in place since Justin Fields was drafted, and they may wish to have their own man in place. Sitting atop the QB tree is Alabama’s Bryce Young. The Bears may be tempted by his poise, IQ and creative ability at the position and look to shift Fields to pastures new.
Chicago have all the chips and could look to cash in for a bonanza of picks. They simply could chose to flip picks with the Houston Texans, in a trade reminiscent of the Bears own trade for Mitchell Trubisky in 2017. This would allow the Bears to still select either of the top 2 players aforementioned and recoup the 2nd round pick they gave away for Chase Claypool.
However, sitting at number 4 lurks the Indianapolis Colts. GM Chris Ballard is firmly on the hot seat. He has recently spoken about his desire to get things right at the QB position following recent veteran options not panning out
“I’ll do whatever it takes, If we thought there’s a player that we’re driven to get that makes the franchise and the team better, that’s what we would do”Colts end of season press conference
The Colts could potentially give up considerable draft capital to get their man. Just 2 short years ago, San Francisco gave up 3 first round picks to move up to 3. The Bears surely would be looking for something similair. If they do pull the trigger on this, a run on QBs could ensue at positions 1, 2 and 3. This also allows the Bears to hoover up whoever they wanted at another position, as well as setting themselves up draft wise for the next few years.
Other teams in the top 10 – for example the Las Vegas Raiders and the Carolina Panthers – are almost certainly in the quarterback market. Although engaging in trades with either of these could would see a further drop down the draft board, the price to come up could be very tempting for Poles and co as they attempt to rebuild a floundering franchise.
Where do the Bears go?
Certainly there is plenty of intrigue around the top end of this years draft. For all draft afficionados, the Texans dramatically knocking off the Colts in the final game of the season could potentially have been the best thing to happen!