Justin Fields went on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast and sent a message to the Bears front office. He was asked who he would take with the No. 1 pick if he were the Bears general manager, and he didn’t hold on back.
Fans have speculated all offseason that Fields may be traded and the Bears would take Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. The new team president, Kevin Warren, shut down those rumors at his introductory press conference in January.
“He’s talented,” Warren said of Fields. “He’s a leader. I love his passion… I have the greatest amount of respect for him because I know he’s gonna do everything he possibly can with the talent that he has to be a leader. He wants to win championships. Those are the people that I want.”
What Did Fields Say?
Fields opened up and stated, “I’m not gonna trade myself.”
Then he continued by discussing the team needs, and they have a lot of them. The Bears’ 3-14 record was the worst in the league last season, which is why they have the top draft pick.
“We do have some help that we need in the trenches,” Fields said. “A lot of people are talking about us taking Jalen Carter or Will Anderson. We’ll see what happens. I’m guessing we’ll get one of those guys and maybe some guys in free agency.”
The Bears defensive line had the lowest number of sacks last season and gave up the most rushing yards. So, the obvious choice would be to use the No. 1 pick on a game-changer on the defensive line. Last year, the Jaguars and Giants both used their first picks to draft those type of players.
Fields is thinking offense and more specifically a playmaker that could help him out in the passing game.
“Depends (on) what pick we have. I’m going my man Jaxon Smith-Njigba,” Fields said. “I’ve seen him in action. I’ve seen how he can separate himself like that. His body control is crazy. He didn’t get to play this past year. He didn’t get to show what he could do. I’m hoping he falls to us somehow,” said Fields.
The two played together at Ohio State, and there is some familiarity even though Smith-Njigba didn’t see the field much when Fields was the starter. The Bengals did the same thing with Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. It worked out great for them with a Super Bowl appearance and back-to-back AFC Championship appearances in their two years together.
Possible Scenarios to Land Smith-Njigba
The Bears have only one first-round pick this year, but have a total of eight draft picks. They can easily package their first overall pick and trade back to get a two-for-one type deal.
Smith-Njigba is currently projected to go in the middle of the first round. He had a fantastic sophomore season with 95 receptions for 1,606 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He also set a NCAA single-game record with 347 receiving yards on 15 receptions and three receiving touchdowns.
The Bears wouldn’t pick again until 53rd pick in the second round if they were to keep their current picks. Smith-Njigba had a disappointing junior campaign because he only played in one game, but if would be puzzling if he fell all the way to the second round.
The Bears did trade for Chase Claypool midseason last year, and he should be much better with a full offseason to learn their offense. The Bears also have two fourth-round picks that they could possibly use on UNC’s Josh Downs, Tennessee’s Jaylin Hyatt, or SMU’s Rashee Rice to pair with Claypool and Darnell Mooney.
For now, it looks like Fields had wishful thinking.