The final matchup of Super Wild Card Weekend between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night will now officially determine the value of the Chicago Bears’ second-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft.
The Bears will now own either the No. 52 or No. 53 overall selection in April’s draft after they watched the Baltimore Ravens get eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday. Since the Bears own the Ravens’ second-round pick as trade compensation for All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith, they had legitimate rooting interest coming into the first weekend of the playoffs and caught a few breaks that helped their cause.
The most important thing that broke in the Bears’ direction was the Ravens losing to the Cincinnati Bengals. If Baltimore had advanced past the first round, the value of the pick would have decreased for Chicago and remained a mystery for at least another week. Now that they are eliminated, though, the pick’s value ultimately comes down to how they stack up against the other teams that were eliminated in the wild-card round.
The Bears also benefitted from the two upsets of the weekend. Because the New York Giants (9-7-1) knocked off the Minnesota Vikings (13-4) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8) rallied to take down the Los Angeles Chargers (10-7), two more teams with a better standing than the Ravens were added to the first batch of eliminations and pushed them farther up the draft order.
The Bears can still catch one more break if the Buccaneers (9-8) manage to upset the Cowboys (12-4) in their wild-card matchup on Monday night. Either the Cowboys win and the pick remains at No. 53 overall or they lose and the pick jumps to No. 52.
Bears Ultimately Gave Up No. 32 Pick for Chase Claypool
The Bears might be pleased to see the first round of the playoffs help the value of their only second-round pick, but there is probably still a part of them that wishes they had kept their original second-round pick given how valuable it ended up becoming.
The Bears ended up finishing with the worst regular-season record in the NFL in 2022, giving them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft but also ensuring that the pick they gave up for Claypool would be the first pick of the second round. Normally, that would be the No. 33 overall pick in the draft, but since the Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick due to tampering and left the first round with just 31 selections, it is actually the No. 32 overall pick that ended up in the hands of the Steelers.
Now, the Bears could still see their decision to trade for Claypool pay off in the 2023 season. He didn’t stand out in the second half of the season with the Bears, but the coaches and general manager Ryan Poles have seemed to chalk up his lack of production to him being asked to learn a complex new offense on the fly and also dealing with some injury troubles that held him out of two games. With a full offseason to build chemistry with Justin Fields, Claypool could turn a corner for the Bears in 2023.
Still, it is easy to imagine the options the Bears might have had if they decided to stay put at No. 32 overall. They might have even been able to pick up one of the better-ranked receivers in the class, such as Josh Downs, Jalin Hyatt or Zay Flowers.
Bears Could Still Add Another 2nd-Round Pick for 2023
For the moment, the Bears are scheduled to be waiting for more than 50 selections between the first- and second-round picks, but it is entirely possible — maybe even likely — that things change a bit before Draft Day arrives at the end of April.
The Bears have been largely expected to move back from the No. 1 spot in the draft due to the fact that they do not need a quarterback and could acquire a massive haul from a team that is looking to move up for their choice of passer prospects in the class. If Poles goes that route, there is a good chance he could pick up multiple premium picks that would put them on the clock before their current second-round pick.