Chicago Bears fans experienced a roller coaster of emotions in Week 18 monitoring the Texans game against Indianapolis. The rights to the No. 1 overall selection were on the line, and Houston held a two-score advantage with less than one minute remaining in the third quarter. The Colts, aided by two Davis Mills interceptions, scored touchdowns on consecutive possessions to take a lead. With 50 seconds remaining, Mills found tight end Jordan Akins for what would be the game-winning touchdown.
Simultaneously, the Bears were taken care of at home by the Vikings to secure the No. 1 overall selection, which they're likely to trade, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
In an ideal world, the franchise would be able to trade down while maintaining a position inside the top-4, which seemingly ensures that they have an opportunity to select either Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. or Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, in addition to adding much needed assets to rebuild the roster. First-year general manager Ryan Poles can either trade with a team that currently holds one of those selections or dictate that any potential trade include a third team leaving a path for the Bears to land either Anderson or Carter.
In three seasons with the Crimson Tide, Anderson has accumulated 34.5 sacks. Over the past two seasons, the Georgia native has generated 137 pressures; 17 more than the next most. Rookie safety Jaquan Brisker led Chicago with four sacks this season. The team finished with the fewest sacks in the league.
The Bears also allowed 157.3 rushing yards per game, which was the second most in the NFL. There is a need for both Carter and Anderson so either should be welcomed.
The No. 1 overall pick has not be traded since the Rams moved up from No. 15 overall in 2016 to select quarterback Jared Goff. Theoretically, any team willing to trade up to No. 1 overall would be doing so for a quarterback. Houston (No. 2 overall), Indianapolis (No. 4 overall), Seattle (No. 5 overall), Detroit (No. 6 overall), Las Vegas (No. 7 overall), Atlanta (No. 8 overall) and Carolina (No. 9 overall) could be in the market to add a rookie quarterback. A bevy of potential suitors indicates that it could be a seller's market, which would lead to a higher trade return.
If Chicago is not offered a pick that would essentially guarantee the chance to select one of those two defenders, then it has a decision to stay put and pick either or take the trade and add a lesser-caliber player. The 2023 NFL Draft class is relatively top heavy with a chasm between the quarterbacks, two defenders and the next best available.
It would be difficult to bypass either of those players knowing the risk that comes with picking later in the round. Poles should either stick and pick one of those two defenders or trade back if they feel comfortable that either Carter or Anderson will be available.
The organization also has needs to address along the offensive line, linebacker and wide receiver.
The 2023 NFL Draft is to take place from April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Chicago's second selection comes from Baltimore in the Roquan Smith trade. The Bears sent their own second round choice to Pittsburgh in exchange for wide receiver Chase Claypool, who averaged 20 receiving yards per game with his new team.