The Chicago Bears just finished a putrid 3-14 season, and for that they’ll have the No.1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. This marks the first time in 75 years the Bears will have the very first pick in April’s draft. For a team devoid of talent around rising quarterback Justin Fields, this could be just what the doctor ordered in the Windy City.
Who Will Chicago Bears Draft No.1 In 2023?
GM Ryan Poles, who just finished his first season as the lead decision-maker at Halas Hall, has some pressing issues to work out.
Do the Bears select a young college stud like Alabama’s edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., or Georgia’s dominant interior lineman Jalen Carter, or do they trade the pick for more assets?
Either way first-year head coach Matt Eberflus has the utmost confidence in the man who was hired upon his arrival in Chicago.
Eberflus told reporters this in his postgame presser.
“High confidence, no question,” Eberflus said of Poles. “The first thing of a personnel manager is the ability to pick players, and he can do that. The place where he come from, he has shown that this year already, and we look at the guys that same way. We like, long, lean, fast, physical players. That’s certainly — we’ve both been a part of that in our past, and we’re excited about getting that going.”
The Bears now officially own the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
They also have ~$100M in salary cap space, by far the most in the NFL this offseason.
A chance for major roster improvement for GM Ryan Poles.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 8, 2023
Chicago Bears Will Draft Defense
Upgrading the defensive trenches is vital for the Bears, whose 1.3 sacks per game ranked dead last in the NFL.
They also ranked 31st in QB pressures allowed in 2022, so they’ll need to upgrade personnel in order to have any sustained success and keep franchise QB Justin Fields upright.
It’s extremely rare that the team selecting first overall already has a franchise signal caller, but Chicago finds itself in this fortunate position with Fields steadily progressing.
So what should the Poles and the Bears brass do with the pick?
Will Chicago Bears Trade Top Pick In NFL Draft?
They could take the aforementioned Anderson Jr. or Carter, two dominant defensive players who’ll immediately upgrade their interior play. But they need much more than that, and holding that top pick means Poles can make a QB-desperate team give up a ton of draft capital to select either Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, the top two signal-callers in the draft.
Poles and the Bears are also loaded with over $100M in cap space, the most in the league, so they’ll have plenty of money to sign would-be free agents. That means unless one of those two aforementioned defensive studs jumps off the screen and checks all the boxes, trading that pick could net some serious draft capital going forward. And for a team in dire need of talent and quality depth, it might be too hard to pass up.
This season, Fields made marked improvement as a passer, with very limited weaponry at his disposal. The former Ohio State Buckeyes star showed more of a willingness to go through his progressions this season before running. He finished the season with over 2,200 yards passing, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Is Justin Fields Top Running QB In NFL?
But it was his running that stole the show, as the former five-star recruit rushed for 1,143 yards and eight more touchdowns. Fields came within 63 yards of tying Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s single-season rushing record for QBs, set in LJ8’s unanimous MVP season of 2019.
This is very brownish
— Bubba Oliver (@JES2123) January 8, 2023
QBs are supposed to pass the football consistently to have longevity, so it’s up to Poles and Eberflus to get Fields some weapons on the outside.
Team Will Build Around Fields And Eddie Jackson
As for All-Pro safety Eddie Jackson, he became the heart and soul of the defense after Poles traded All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith to the Ravens midseason. The blockbuster trade indicated a clear rebuild and Poles just didn’t think it was smart to pay Smith $20M per season.
The Bears have a solid defense and a strong foundation offensively with Fields at the helm. Having the No. 1 pick won’t fix all of Chicago’s problems, but having their pick of the draft litter should help Poles add some real talent.