The Chicago Bears were one of the biggest winners in Week 18. Thanks to a Houston Texans win, the Bears secured the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft following the 29-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
After starting 2-1, Chicago finished on a tough 1-13 stretch and lost its last 10. However, the Bears seemed to answer their biggest question: Is Justin Fields a franchise quarterback?
This roster clearly lacked talent in many areas, like skill positions on offense and in the front seven on defense. Chicago will look to build around Fields in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. Here are several positions of need and potential targets.
2022 Season Record: 3-14
Status of Coach: Matt Eberflus – Safe
Positions of Need
- Defensive line
- Offensive line
- Wide Receiver
Notable Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 1
No. 1 Pick on the Move?
After trading their second-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for wide receiver Chase Claypool, Chicago holds one selection through the first two rounds. The Bears could look to trade the No. 1 pick. This is a draft class with three good quarterbacks at the top and several teams could be willing to trade up, like the Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders or Carolina Panthers.
Chicago has a lot of needs to address in the offseason. Gaining more draft capital makes too much sense. The Bears could acquire several second-day picks and possibly an additional first-round selection if they decide to move back.
In 2016, the Rams traded the No. 15 pick, three second-day picks and a future first-rounder and third-rounder to move up to No. 1. In 2012, Washington sent three first-round picks and a second-round pick to move from No. 6 to No. 2. The San Francisco 49ers also traded the No. 12 pick and two future first-rounders to move up to No. 3 in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Clearly, Chicago could greatly benefit from moving the No. 1 overall draft pick.
Potential First-Round Targets
If the Bears decide to stay put at No. 1, they will have their pick from two generational defensive prospects. Defensive end Will AndersonJr. of Alabama and Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter provide immense potential, especially as pass rushers, which Chicago desperately needs after finishing last in team sacks.
Anderson, a 6-foot-4 edge rusher, is the best defensive end prospect since Chase Young in 2020. He has exceptional athleticism with various pass-rush moves, including a spin and forklift. The Alabama product has work to do against the run. Plus, his junior season is somewhat concerning. Anderson went from 101 tackles, 31 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks in 2021 to 51 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his final season.
The Bears desperately need help at defensive tackle. Carter could be the better fit. You could make a case that a dominant three-technique is more unstoppable than an elite edger rusher. Plus, football is trending in that direction with players like Aaron Donald, Chris Jones and Quinnen Williams dominating opposing offensive lines. Carter possesses the same kind of elite quickness and strength as some of the NFL’s best three techniques.
— Blitz Guy (@BlitzGuyOG) January 1, 2023
If Chicago opts to trade down, Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee and Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson could be targeted in the top 10. Bresee has elite physical traits with ridiculous strength that allows him to eat blocks. Wilson has fantastic physicality for an edge, but lacks burst and bend as a rusher.
Keep a close eye on the Bears’ draft strategy. Chicago would benefit from trading back, but selecting Anderson or Carter with the No. 1 pick could be too good to pass up.