The Chicago Bears are in the driver’s seat with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. They “earned” that position in the final week of the 2022 season when they lost to the Minnesota Vikings and the Houston Texans pulled off a remarkable come-from-behind victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
As the 2023 NFL Draft comes into clearer focus, it appears that 4 teams in the top 10 of the draft are in need of a quarterback. While veterans like Aaron Rodgers (possibly) and Derek Carr (definitely) would appear to be available, all four of those teams are looking for longer term answers at the sport’s most important position instead of quick fixes with the veterans.
Those teams include the Texans, with the No. 2 pick, the Colts at No. 4, the Raiders at No. 7 and the Panthers at No. 9.
The Panthers may be the ideal trade partner, because they are the furthest down the list with the ninth spot. That means that if they were to move up to No. 1, they would owe the Bruins more than Houston or Indianapolis. The same would seemingly hold with Las Vegas.
In this piece, we will look at the ideal trade scenario for the Panthers and Bears.
Carolina trade offer to Chicago
The Panthers have the capital to make a legitimate trade offer to the Bears, and almost certainly give them more than any of the other teams.
The Bears would be trading down significantly, and the belief here is that the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft would be worth Carolina’s first two picks this year, as well as one more No. 1 pick and possibly a player or another high draft pick.
NFL Network personnel analyst and draft expert Daniel Jeremiah believes the haul for the Bears could include three No. 1 draft picks from the Panthers.
“If you want to go all the way to 9, you are going to get the ninth pick, you are going to get the 39th pick, and get a first round in ’24 and a first round in ’25,” Jeremiah said.
However, that would be a huge giveaway for the Panthers and general manager Scott Fitterer, who is in his second NFL offseason of team leadership. He would certainly want the No. 1 pick, but he doesn’t want to get taken advantage of by Chicago general manager Ryan Poles.
The No. 1 draft pick could be Alabama quarterback Bryce Young or Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. Many observers like Young for the No. 1 pick, but his lack of height could be an issue. Young has been measured recently at 5-10 1/2, and his ability to read defenses and see over the top of the defensive line could be an issue.
Stroud may be even better than Young, and he was at his best in the College Football Playoff loss to Georgia.
Justin Fields factor
The Bears appear to have their franchise quarterback in Justin Fields, who has demonstrated superb athleticism and sprinter’s speed in his first two years in the NFL.
His passing has been somewhat inconsistent to this point, and the Bears have to decide if he really is the signal caller who can lead them to glory.
If they do, expect Chicago to trade the No. 1 pick. If they don’t, they will try to trade Fields and use the top pick themselves.
The belief here is that they are not ready to give up on Fields and they will trade the pick