Wouldn't This Return for the No. 1 Overall Pick Be a Bit Light for the Bears?

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Wouldn’t This Return for the No. 1 Overall Pick Be a Bit Light for the Bears?

Chicago Bears

Ever since I had access to the internet as a youngster, I’ve always enjoyed obsessively following NFL mock drafts. And this year will be no exception. In fact, with the No. 1 overall pick currently assigned to Chicago, I have extra motivation to see any and all mock drafts that come across my eyeballs.

With that being mind, let me share the latest from Dane Brugler (The Athletic), which features the Bears and Indianapolis Colts executing a major swap:

  • BEARS GET: The 4th and 35th overall picks, plus a 2024 first-round pick.
  • COLTS GET: The opportunity to draft Alabama quarterback Bryce Young with the first overall pick.

Thoughts? Emotions?

What stands out the most to me: An unshakable feeling that this return for the No. 1 pick feels a bit light.

My initial reaction to that projection didn’t blow my socks off. And then after reading the rest of the draft, I found myself aggressively shaking my head and muttering to myself “no way” and “not enough.” That the Panthers’ trade-up from No. 9 to No. 5 looks similar to what it would take for Indy to get the No. 1 pick from Chicago bugs me. Brugler has the Panthers moving up from No. 9 to No. 5 to take Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud in a trade with the Seahawks. Sliding up four spots projects to cost the Panthers the Nos. 9 and 93 picks, as well as a first-round selection. The Bears should hold onto that pick until someone offers a king’s ransom. Full stop.

Maybe Brugler’s trade is the most plausible anyone can come up with at this point. But with Colts GM Chris Ballard essentially saying he would risk it all to get a top QB in this draft and owner Jim Irsay being a rogue wild-card breathing down his neck, I think there is a monster trade with Indy that could come around. Desperation makes folks do crazy things.

As for what Brugler has the Bears doing with the picks, that part of the mock looks like this:

  • Jalen Carter, Georgia DT (4th overall)
  • BJ Ojulari, LSU edge (35th overall)
  • Cedric Tillman, Tennessee WR (53rd overall via Ravens/Roquan trade)

On the one hand, these picks fill three of the most notable Bears needs. The Matt Eberflus/Alan Williams defense needs a butt-kicker in the middle of that defensive line. And Georgia’s Jalen Carter looks like the No. 1 butt-kicking defender in this class. There are also needs along the edge, which is why taking LSU’s BJ Ojulari would make for a sensible pick. We know that defensive line stunk last year. Upgrading it should be high on the priority list. And drafting Carter fourth overall (and adding Ojulari later) makes for a good start.

As for the Cedric Tillman pick, we’ve been pretty open about the team’s need to upgrade at wideout. But taking another Tennessee receiver might bother some folks who still aren’t over last year’s Velus Jones Jr. selection. Hey, don’t give me that look. Also, there is a timeline that exists where a segment of Bears fans won’t be happy the team took defensive players with two of their first three picks. Dating back to 2022, this would mean four of the first five picks from the Ryan Poles Era will have been defensive players. I realize you can’t make everyone happy. But there would definitely be murmurs of “same old Bears” circulating in our spaces. Whether that’s for right or wrong is a conversation for another day.

In the end, this mock with Brugler projecting trades at a relatively early stage of the pre-draft process might be the actual takeaway here. Think about it. This isn’t something Brugler tends to do. However, even Brugler says (bold emphasis mine) “the overwhelming odds say the Bears will trade out of the No. 1 spot.”

That might look like a throwaway line, but it doesn’t feel that way to me. Not when it comes from someone with Brugler’s standing in NFL circles. Brugler is a long-time NFL Draft guru whose stuff is insightful and honest. In other words, he doesn’t do shock-and-awe mock drafts. Which, in a way, really drives home the possibility (if not, probability) of Chicago trading out of the first overall pick. This is more real than some folks might want to admit.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.