With the Chicago Bears holding the No. 1 pick and already having a franchise quarterback on their roster, the 2023 NFL Draft is set to be the most intriguing and unpredictable since 2016.
Most experts believe a trade for the top pick can happen this year, something that hasn’t happened since 2016. That year, the Los Angeles Rams traded with the Tennessee Titans in order to draft Jared Goff.
Odds To Be No. 1 Pick in 2023 NFL Draft
Sportsbooks clearly agree that a trade is likely at the top. Three quarterbacks currently sit in the top five for odds to go No. 1 overall.
|2023 NFL Draft-- No. 1 Pick
Decisions for Bears
With Justin Fields showing this season he can be “The Guy” for Chicago at quarterback, the Bears have a lot of options with the top pick.
Do they keep the pick and draft one of the two elite defenders available in Alabama’s Will Anderson or Georgia’s Jalen Carter? Or do the Bears trade the pick to a quarterback-needy team, looking to make Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, or Kentucky’s Will Levis to be their new savior?
Let’s look at some of the options.
Trade the Pick
Chicago has holes everywhere on its roster, so the ability to trade down and pick up extra draft picks has to be appealing. Because there are several teams in desperate need of a quarterback, there will be plenty of suitors for the No. 1 pick.
An idea on what it would take can be formed from looking at that 2016 trade between the Rams and Titans. To jump up from No. 15, Los Angeles traded its first, two seconds (#43 and #45), and a third-round selection (#76), as well as their first- and third-round picks in 2017.
It’s unlikely Chicago would want to drop all the way to the middle of the first round. However, there are three teams in the top 10 that make sense.
Trade with Houston Texans (No. 2)
Houston really screwed up by winning their season finale over the arch-rival Colts. A team that seemed destined for the top pick now finds itself at the mercy of the Bears.
Could the Texans trade up for the top pick? Sure. But is it worth the cost?
Since Chicago will be getting offers from other teams that will almost assuredly include a second-round pick and perhaps a first-rounder in 2024, the Texans would have to overpay. The cost could be as high as No. 2, a second (#34) and a first or second in 2024. That only makes sense if they view the difference between the top quarterback and the others to be a huge gap.
Most would expect Young to be the guy the Texans would target at No. 1. However, don’t be surprised if general manager Nick Caserio elects for Levis due to his prototypical size and arm strength. That could make a flier on Levis to go No. 1 a good bet, especially at FanDuel (+1000) or BetRivers (+1100).
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Trade with Indianapolis Colts (No. 4)
If you ask any Bears fan, this is the ideal trade partner. Chicago would move back only three spots, giving them a chance to select one of the two elite defenders, while picking up some needed picks.
Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard has already said he’ll “do whatever it takes” to get a franchise quarterback. Add in an extra bonus of getting their choice ahead of Houston and a trade makes a ton of sense.
A trade of No. 4 overall, along with a second (#36) and a first and second in 2024 is an overpay, according to the widely respected Rich Hill trade chart, making it a deal Chicago probably won’t pass up. The Colts could include defensive tackle DeForest Buckner or receiver Michael Pittman instead of the 2024 second to make it a slightly easier pill to swallow for their fans.
As for who the Colts would select…that depends on who has the final say. If owner Jim Irsay is making the call, Young is likely the big-name guy he would love to market around. If Ballard has his choice, past history says he would likely lean more towards Levis.
Again, Levis could be good value to bet on.
Trade with Carolina Panthers (No. 9)
The Panthers have been a revolving door at quarterback since Cam Newton left. Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Kyle Allen, and Houston Roughnecks legend P.J. Walker have all spent time under center the past four seasons. Yikes!
The price to move up from 9 to 1 would have to be eye-popping. We’re talking a first this year and next, two seconds (#39 and #60), and probably a second or third in 2024. They may even have to throw in receiver D.J. Moore to complete the deal. But then again, if they want one of the three quarterbacks, it’s a move the Panthers have to make.
Who would Carolina target? It’s doubtful they’d pay that much for a riskier pick in Levis. That means Young or Stroud would have the advantage to go No. 1.
Keep the Pick
A defensive player hasn’t gone No. 1 overall since 2017 when Cleveland took Myles Garrett over Mitchell Trubisky. That clearly worked out for the Browns.
Garrett was the best overall prospect in his draft, a label Carter and Anderson share this year amongst some experts. If Chicago does keep the pick, it’s because they view one of those two as a generational talent that can’t be passed on.
Who would the Bears prefer? Anderson is probably the best athlete, but Carter is also a physical freak and would be “the engine” in head coach Matt Eberflus’ defense. The sportsbooks agree, with Carter having the better odds at two of the books, and tied with Anderson at three others.
Any Other Scenarios?
ESPN analyst Mike Tannebaum created waves when he suggested the Bears trade Fields and draft Young No. 1.
Is it the craziest idea? No, because Fields will probably never be the pure passer Young projects to be. However, that might be a move too risky for a team that has so many needs.
As for any other trade scenarios, arguments could be made for Seattle, Detroit, Las Vegas, or Atlanta to make moves for No. 1 (or Fields if he were available). However, those seem unlikely.
Despite each owning two first rounders this year, Seattle (Geno Smith) and Detroit (Goff) seem comfortable with their quarterback situations. If anything, they may stand pat and target a project pick in Florida’s Anthony Richardson.
As for Atlanta, they may be willing to roll the dice for a season of Desmond Ridder as the full-time starter. If that doesn’t work, there is always the quarterback draft class of 2024.
As the NFL Draft gets closer, the odds are sure to be in constant flux. That’s why it may be the sharp move now to take a flier on Levis or Carter. Better to be on the bandwagon before everyone else.