This Mock Draft Lays Out Exactly What the Bears Should Be Looking For When They Trade the No. 1 Pick
Yours truly is willing to take the risk of enduring Bears mock draft fatigue to share a mock that piques my interest.
Not necessarily for who the Chicago Bears pick or why they are the choice for this particular mock, although we’ll get into that later. But instead, this mock draft from The Athletic’s Diante Lee lays out exactly what the Bears should seek in a return if (when?) GM Ryan Poles ultimately decides to trade out of the No. 1 pick.
For what it’s worth, Lee’s mock has the Bears standing pat and taking Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. with the first overall pick. But not before taking a guess on what it would take for the Bears to vacate the option to use that pick on taking Anderson in the No. 1 spot. The bold emphasis is mine, but the sentiment is spot on:
Short of a Godfather offer — I’ll guess the starting price would be two first-rounders and a pair of Day 2 picks — Chicago would be at peace taking the best player. There’s going to be pressure for QB-needy franchises not to be last in line, but if Chicago trades down, it will want to stay in range to leave the first round with a surefire playmaker.
Additionally, Lee writes: “For top-10 picks being dealt, the expected baseline return is a 2023 first-round pick and a choice of either a 2024 first-rounder or a pair of Day 2 picks, spread over ’23 and ’24.”
And there you have it. Any Bears trade down out from the No. 1 pick should require a pair of first-rounders. Moreover, an ideal trade-down scenario features the Bears getting a pair of first-round picks *AND* two Day 2 selections. If it doesn’t, then Poles shouldn’t entertain the offer. Tough, but fair — right? The Bears should be aiming to recoup as much draft capital as they can and by any means necessary. This is why getting the first overall pick was of the utmost importance at the end of the year. It is why rooting for the tank became a Bears fan’s calling card down the stretch. And in some cases, a Bears fan’s identity (for better or worse).
I feel like I have moments in which I have mock draft fatigue. One reason is that too many have the Bears sticking with the first overall pick. That doesn’t seem realistic considering the Bears’ biggest needs. And the other reason is that too many don’t even explore trade possibilities. A mock draft without trades is like a PB&J without the J.
Maybe it is because mock trades are hard to pinpoint at this stage of the game. That’s fair. We’re still in February and have a ways to go before things get serious. But mock drafts that don’t even entertain the idea of trades don’t get the spirit of the thing. Mock drafts should inform us about what could be coming down the pipeline while simultaneously being entertaining. It is tough to thread that needle, I’ll admit. But it is worth trying. In the end, that is what I like about Lee’s mock draft. It explores options, explains scenarios, and kept my mind occupied. With that being said, Diante Lee deserves a pat on the back for a job well done.
Generally, mock drafts made at this time of the year are more geared toward putting players on our radar. In many cases, mock drafts that get churned out pre-Super Bowl are more about addressing obvious team needs. What happens during March’s free agency will give us an idea of what draft boards will look like in April. And yet, the free agency period won’t begin for another 33 days. As for the draft, we’re 78 days from that going down. In other words, mock drafts this time of year can often be an exercise in futility. But that shouldn’t stop us from dissecting them. Especially since they tend to give us insight and perspective into the pre-draft process. Moreover, mock drafts are great time killers. Is there something else you’d rather be doing on a Wednesday morning in February? I didn’t think so.