The Chicago Bears answered a question that felt like it was always “when” rather “if” on Friday, trading the No. 1 pick of the 2023 draft to the Carolina Panthers.
In return, they received the No. 9, No. 61, a 2024 first, and a 2025 second, alongside receiver D.J. Moore.
MORE: Bears-Panthers trade details: No. 1 draft choice headed to Carolina for D.J. Moore, haul of picks
The deal, made over a month before the draft, gave the Bears what they wanted: A veritable cornucopia of picks with which to fill out their roster over the next several drafts.
While it means they’ll fall out of contention for star Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson, it does give them more freedom both next year and late in the second round this year.
The question is: Who do the Bears take with the No. 9 pick? Getting Moore addresses part of their receiver problem, but one receiver doesn’t fill up the room. However, the Bears do have other needs, specifically at the following positions:
- Offensive line
- Pass rusher
- Defensive tackle
While a player they could have gotten at No. 1 could have helped, this trade gives them more picks to address more needs.
MORE: NFL Draft order 2023: First-round picks for every team
The Bears are set up nicely for the next few seasons. Here’s how their draft picks shake out for 2023 specifically.
Chicago Bears 2023 draft picks
Although not seeing No. 1 up on the board anymore may initially hurt Bears fans, they should take solace in what they’re seeing instead.
The Bears now have two picks in the second round after trading their own away for Chase Claypool midseason last year and acquiring one by trading Roquan Smith to the Ravens. They’ll have three picks in the first two rounds.
|1||9 (from Panthers)|
|2||53 (from Ravens)|
|2||61 (from Panthers)|
|4||133 (from Eagles)|
|5||150 (from Patriots)|
Make no mistake: Even without No. 1, this is a lot of capital. On top of that, none of their first three picks are their own, which is indicative of the wheeling and dealing going on from the Bears.
Bears first round mock
At No. 9, there are a lot of combinations of players who could be available. What’s certain is who won’t be. Will Anderson will be off the board, but from there it’s anyone’s guess.
Free agency could also provide some clarity on what the Bears are trying to do.
MORE: When and where is the NFL Draft in 2023?
With it being impossible to mock No. 9 in an isolated capacity, here is how the first 10 picks of the draft could play out with the draft order being what it is (drawn from Vinnie Iyer’s most recent mock).
|1||Carolina Panthers (from Bears)||C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State|
|2||Houston Texans||Bryce Young, QB, Alabama|
|3||Arizona Cardinals||Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama|
|4||Indianapolis Colts||Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida|
|5||Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos)||Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia|
|6||Detroit Lions (from Rams)||Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon|
|7||Las Vegas Raiders||Will Levis, QB, Kentucky|
|8||Atlanta Falcons||Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech|
|9||Chicago Bears (from Panthers)||Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern|
|10||Philadelphia Eagles (from Saints)||Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson|
By trading for Moore, the Bears address part of their receiver problem. But Fields having weapons won’t matter if he can’t get the ball to them. Skoronski looks like the best tackle in the draft, and the Bears need that protection. Keeping the Northwestern product in the Midwest, quite simply, makes sense.
He’ll also likely be available, with the teams above the Bears having other, more pressing needs.
The Bears will have options at No. 9, which was part of why they made this deal. With this year’s QB class shaking out as it has, the Bears will have impact players available here at No. 9. The turnaround has to begin this season. And with the Panthers’ picks, they can start finding players to move that along.
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