The trade we've all been waiting for to jump-start the 2023 NFL Draft has happened, as Carolina Panthers agreed to a deal on Friday night with the Chicago Bears to obtain the No. 1 overall pick.
In the move, the Panthers relinquished the No. 9 overall selection this year (obviously), their second Round 2 pick (No. 61 overall), a first-round pick in 2024, a second-round pick in 2025, and wide receiver D.J. Moore.
Wooo baby. This monster trade is still simmering, but it's cooled down just enough that we can now assign grades.
With the First Pick Bears-Panthers trade emergency episode embed
After missing on veteran, hopeful reclamation projects Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield during the early stages of GM Scott Fitterer's tenure, the Panthers are swinging for the fences with this bold move. Despite my firm philosophical stance against trade ups in the draft, the one ginormous caveat centers around ascending to pick a quarterback. I'm cool with that.
All the way back at pick No. 9, it felt pretty likely the Panthers were going to have to settle for the fourth quarterback off the board. Not ideal, and frankly, not how any quarterback-desperate team would operate, particularly with a new head coach and a GM inching near the hot seat. From that perspective alone, I like the move for the Panthers.
And they didn't send three firsts to Bears. Another win! Ultimately just two. Now, still holding selection No. 40 overall -- received in the Christian McCaffrey trade -- was a boon for Carolina, as receiver comes into focus when the Panthers go on the clock with that pick.
However, the loss of Moore is counterproductive to the early development of whichever quarterback they select at No. 1 overall. Moore has long had an argument as the NFL's most underrated wideout. And the cost of doing big business like this is that it instantly constructs a hurdle in the roster-building process. Those elements factored into their grade. But if the quarterback hits -- that's all we'll remember.
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Let's work backwards from the player to the collection of picks. Moore is a darn good wideout -- I can't stress that enough. After a strong rookie season in 2018, he went over 1,000 yards three-consecutive seasons with a litany of mediocre-at-their-absolute-best passers. Most recently, in 2022, he managed 888 yards receiving and set a career high in touchdowns with seven. Moore got targets from Mayfield, Darnold, P.J. Walker and even Jacob Eason last year. Yikes.
Going a step beyond Moore's classic statistics, he's proven he can be a YAC menace and only turns 26 in April. He had more than 12 missed tackles forced in each of his first three seasons in Carolina. He hasn't been quite as elusive the last two seasons, but at his age and with his athletic profile, he can play to the YAC standard he set from 2018 to 2020, with the Bears.
Now to the draft-pick package. Based on our in-house draft trade chart, created by our very own football brainiac R.J. White, the Bears' No. 1 pick was worth at least 900 points. The pick portion of this trade they acquired equates to roughly 700 to 715 points. As for Moore, White said the WR's trade value is between the 15th overall pick (286.72 points) and the 28th overall pick (187.02 points). Average those together and add the value of the draft picks, and you get between 935-950 points. So basically dead even. Or darn close.
Did the Bears rake the Panthers over the coals? No. But they acquired two firsts, two seconds and a ready-to-go WR1 who will instantly boost Justin Fields' productivity. Win.