The Chicago Bears are 3-8. Their quarterback is injured, and their upcoming schedule either features teams in the playoff hunt or teams that have already beaten them this year. That is why many believe there is a strong possibility this team will hold one of the top picks in the 2023 draft. Current projections have them sitting at #3 overall, the same spot they held going into the 2017 draft. This time around, they won’t be hunting for a quarterback. It makes the possible outcomes far more interesting.
GM Ryan Poles knows his roster needs a serious infusion of talent. They don’t have any stars outside of Justin Fields. There are some promising names like Jaquan Brisker and Darnell Mooney. Not much outside of them. If this team is going to regain a footing in the NFC, they need blue-chip players. Holding a top five pick grants a perfect opportunity to do that. The obvious question is which players they might take, presuming they maintain control of that spot. Here is a full exploration of every scenario that seems possible going into next spring.
The Chicago Bears have several options if they end up #3 overall
- Peter Skoronski (OT, Northerwestern)
- Paris Johnson Jr. (OT, Ohio State)
- Olu Fashanu (OT, Penn State)
- Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU)
Justin Fields has begun to blossom. Everything points to Poles investing heavily in his young quarterback with every resource available. The Bears haven’t used a 1st round pick on an offensive (non-QB) player since 2015. That has to change at some point. It appears 2023 is the year to need an offensive tackle. Experts see three top 10 possibilities in Skoronski, Johnson, and Fashanu. Skoronski seems to be the safest option. He’s big, strong, experienced, and athletic enough to play either side.
Fashanu appears to be the high-ceiling guy. He’s an absolute freak of nature with dancing bear athleticism, long arms, and smooth pass protection fundamentals. The scariest part is he is only 20 years old. He hasn’t even fully matured yet. Johnson Jr. is a mix of both, a good athlete and experienced but not unique in any category. He does have the benefit of being former teammates with Fields, though. Then there is Johnston. Most don’t see him as a top five pick, but he is ridiculously talented at 6’4 with legitimate deep speed.
- Will Anderson (EDGE, Alabama)
- Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia)
- Kelee Ringo (CB, Georgia)
- Myles Murphy (EDGE, Clemson)
Ask most draft experts and they seem to agree the defensive side of the ball carries the most star power outside of the quarterbacks this year. Anderson is the darling of the group. Many compare him to Von Miller and Micah Parsons. That is easy to understand since he has 32.5 sacks and 55 tackles for a loss in his college career. Carter is that rare interior pass rusher opponents dread facing. He’s constantly forcing opponents to double-team him. Otherwise, he’ll blow up pockets at will. That is how quick and strong he is.
Cornerbacks are a premium position in today’s game. Ringo has all the tools to become an eventual All-Pro. He’s big (6’2), fast, and boasts a playmaking instinct that always shows up in big games. Opponents tend to avoid him these days, and with good reason. Murphy? He’s big, long, and supremely athletic. His production at Clemson has been steadily good for three years, and he has an excellent burst as a rusher. His size (275 lbs) might sway the Chicago Bears over Anderson (243 lbs).
- Seattle Seahawks (5th and 21st overall picks)
- Detroit Lions (6th and 13th overall picks)
- Philadelphia Eagles (10th and 32nd overall picks)
The option fans always love. Trade down and acquire a bounty of picks. No doubt the Bears can use more, given their roster needs. Holding the #3 pick has proven lucrative in recent years. Miami secured two extra 1st round picks and an extra 3rd from San Francisco last year for dropping down to the 12th pick. Indianapolis got three extra 2nd round picks from the Jets for dropping to 6th overall. Teams are always willing to pay a premium if they feel a quarterback they covet is on the table.
In these situations, it’s always wise to focus on teams with the ammunition to move up. Seattle, Detroit, and Philadelphia all have two 1st round picks next year. The Lions can be considered the most QB-needy of the bunch. Jared Goff isn’t their future. Is Seattle committed to Geno Smith long-term? He’s 32 years old. Jalen Hurts is having a career year in Philadelphia, but opinions on him might turn sour if he flops in the playoffs as he did in 2021. Then again, any of those teams may wish to land another player. The next six weeks will be telling.