The Chicago Bears won’t tell anybody their plans for the #1 overall pick. It is likely even they don’t know for sure what they will do with it. There is still so much research left to do on the incoming 2023 draft class. People experts presume GM Ryan Poles will seek to trade down, hoping to accumulate more assets. However, sooner or later, he will end up making a pick. People aren’t sure who that player will end up being. Maybe an edge rusher, a defensive tackle, or an offensive tackle. Would he dare consider a quarterback to replace Justin Fields? These questions won’t be going away until the pick happens.
That said, insiders have taken turns offering projections on what they think will happen. Albert Breer of the MMQB has always had strong connections to the franchise. He’s interviewed both Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus personally since they arrived in Chicago. He used that information in his projection for what he thinks will happen with the top six picks of the 1st round. No trades were involved. These are purely his thoughts on which player the two men will covet.
His answer was an interesting one.
“1. Chicago Bears: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Bears GM Ryan Poles helped build a defense in Kansas City whose best player was a disruptive, interior war daddy. Bears coach Matt Eberflus was in Indianapolis when the Colts traded for that kind of guy, DeForest Buckner, and built his final defense as coordinator there around his talents. Carter, to be sure, is that kind of guy. I’ve heard him compared to Fletcher Cox. I’ve heard him compared to Ndamukong Suh. He has that kind of potential, and in this case would give Chicago’s GM and coach a familiar baseline to build off on defense.”
It isn’t hard to envision this for Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus.
The memories of Chris Jones and DeForest Buckner are forefront in their minds. They know how devastating a great interior pass rusher can be for a defense. Don’t forget Eberflus stated the three-technique defensive tackle is the engine that drives the entire scheme. It makes sense he’d prioritize that spot this off-season. Carter has some questions about his maturity and consistency, but one thing is clear. When he’s on, there isn’t an offensive lineman on the planet that can block him.
We’re talking Hall of Fame-caliber talent. His mixture of quickness, strength, and speed isn’t natural for somebody 6’3 and 300 lbs. If he can learn to play under control, the Bears might have their next Tommie Harris or Steve McMichael. It comes down to what Ryan Poles wants to do. Landing Carter will be guaranteed if he stays at #1 overall. However, if he were to move down, the odds would become steeper. That is why the next two months will be critical. The Bears will have a chance to meet with him personally, getting a gauge on the player and the person. Depending on what they hear, it will influence their final decision.