The Bears have the coveted first-overall pick in April’s draft. The only problem is that it will be hard to bluff that they are drafting a quarterback, and I think this hurts their leverage a little bit. The Bears can either trade down a little, trade down a lot, or stand pat. I am going to assess which of these options would be best for Chicago.
Option One: Trade Back A Bit
I saw one early mock that had the Bears trading with Houston, but I don’t see it. If I’m Houston, I’m only moving up if I’m paranoid that a team behind thinks they need the number one pick, but that seems unlikely.
The Bears have a better chance at trading back with one of the other QB-hungry teams in the top 10. I would guess Indianapolis at four, Las Vegas at seven, and Carolina at nine are the most desperate. Carolina is especially intriguing to me; I can see the Bears allowing them to move up to one to make sure they get their guy, in which case they would take over the nine spot, as well as add another first-rounder later on. This is the best case, as the Bears would still get one of the elite EDGE players at nine, and could add the best available offensive tackle or wide receiver in the back half of Round One.
Option Two: Trade Back A Lot
There is an argument for the Bears to trade back more than just a bit. Last season, they did not do anything to recoup the picks lost in the trade-up to take Justin Fields in 2021. They only had five total, and none of them were in the first round.
While it is true that trading back would result in the Bears missing out on the elite EDGE talents at the front of the draft, they could easily draft quality and value at both the offensive line and cornerback positions. As my colleague John mentions on our Vikings pod, there is great CB depth in this draft, and a team can never have too much talent in the secondary room. I could easily see a team like the Commanders at Pick 16, or the Buccaneers at Pick 19, wanting to move up to ensure they get their top prospect at QB. Both the Bucs and Commanders have quality supporting casts and would become contenders with a young, athletic, play-making QB.
Option Three: Stay At One
If the Bears do not move the first-overall pick I am certain there will be frustrated Bears fans. That said, I think it’s a good look when teams don’t get cute in the draft and get their guy without too much overpaying.
The Bears need defensive and offensive line help the most. EDGE rusher Will Anderson, Jr. from Alabama and defensive tackle Jalen Carter from Georgia are the two best players at their positions in the draft, and could easily be top-five picks. The Bears could keep it simple and draft one of those players first overall. I prefer Will Anderson, Jr. in this scenario, but both players offer immediate impact to a defense that is starving for help in the trenches. The Bears have some good, young core guys in their secondary, who could improve with a consistent pass rush. Taking a top-tier talent a few picks early would be the “safest” play they could make.
At The End Of The Day, Just Help Justin
The above options are not necessarily ground-breaking ideas. The fact of the matter is, the Bears simply have to try and help Justin Fields. They need to see for sure if he can be the franchise guy, or if they need to plan to move on.
For what it’s worth, I think Fields has already proven he can be a franchise player. He has the playmaking athleticism that seems more and more important in starting quarterbacks, and he has shown he can throw at a high level for when he starts to age. If the Bears’ defense can become a team strength, then the coaches can open up the playbook for Fields, and instead of thinking he has to do everything on his own, he can start distributing the ball more efficiently.
Biggest Draft Needs
With the season of mock drafts nearly here, I figured I would create a list of the five most important positions for the Bears to address in the off-season. Consider this a preview of what to expect in mock drafts and free-agent speculation here at Stadium Rant as we move on from this season.
- EDGE. I feel like this is all I talk about these days, but a consistent pass rush can make or break your season. One of the main reasons why the 49ers have such a dominant defense is that they get after the quarterback.
- DB. Safety or corner, it doesn’t matter. The Bears need to improve their defense and add depth to compete with Jaquan Brisker, Kyler Gordon, Jaylon Johnson, and the rest of the Bears’ secondary. This could become a strength next season if they draft well here.
- Offensive line. Honestly, this could easily be their top priority, but with the mobility of Fields, they have the luxury of doing more with less. I do think they should draft at least two OL this year, but I think they can wait until after they get elite talent at EDGE and DB.
- Wide receiver. I am a huge Darnell Mooney fan, but Chase Claypool still has a lot to prove to me. Velus Jones, Jr. flashed at times as well, but I think drafting a specific skillset at WR could be a huge boost to this team next season.
- Running back. More specifically, the Bears should look to add an elite pass-catching RB option in the off-season. David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert combined for only 43 catches this past season, and they need to add this threat to their offensive arsenal.
How Many Quarterbacks Go In Round One?
I think this year’s draft will be exciting from the standpoint of how many quarterbacks go in the first round. While I don’t know how many off the top of my head, I’m hoping for a lot of action with trades during that first night.
I also think this will drastically impact the value of the Bears’ first-overall pick, so Bears fans should be watching this closely. And be sure to watch all off-season speculation closely here at Stadium Rant!