Bidding War Imminent For Bears’ Top Pick in NFL Draft

Ryan Poles, Bears

Getty General manager Ryan Poles of the Chicago Bears looks on prior to a game against the Philadelphia Eagles in December 2022.

It was only a matter of time before the battle started heating up for the Chicago Bears‘ top overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

ESPN’s Todd McShay reported on Friday, January 27, that the Houston Texans are planning to pursue the No. 1 selection aggressively in competition with the Indianapolis Colts. The Texans own the No. 2 pick, while the Colts have the No. 4 pick. Both are interested in drafting a franchise quarterback this April.

“Every team that needs a quarterback wants to get to that No. 1 spot,” McShay said on ESPN First Draft. “I don’t think [the Texans] will sit at two. I think they’ll do everything they can [to move up], and the Colts are going to be the driving reason.”

Bears Can Use Bidding War, Posturing to Drive up Price For No. 1 Pick

Darius Slay Fields

GettyQuarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears scrambles during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field on December 18, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Chicago has no reason to select first overall unless they decide to make a hard pivot away from quarterback Justin Fields and draft a signal caller of their own this season.

That exact scenario has been floated by a couple of respected draft analysts in recent days — including ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum, a former NFL general manager — though it doesn’t seem likely considering Fields’ progression as one of the most dangerous dual-threat QBs in the league during just his second season.

Posturing as though they might select a player like Bryce Young out of Alabama or C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State still makes some sense for the Bears as a device to drive up the price of the No. 1 pick even further, beyond what the bidding war between the Texans and the Colts is already going to accomplish.

The secretive nature of teams’ draft plans, which is inherent across the NFL, works to Chicago’s advantage in that neither the Texans nor the Colts truly know what the Bears are thinking positionally if they do end up selecting No. 1. Furthermore, neither the Texans nor the Colts know which quarterback the other values as the best prospect in this draft class. McShay said most franchises around the league see Young as the top QB, though ESPN’s Mel Kiper has been adamant that Will Levis of Kentucky is a superior prospect to both Young and Stroud.

The Bears could extract as many as four draft choices from the Texans or the Colts for moving down between just one and three spots in the first round, per Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report. From the Colts, Sobleski floated the idea that Chicago could receive the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft, Indy’s first-round selection in 2024, as well as separate third- and fourth-round selections in 2023.

Bears Can Trade Down, Still Draft Top Player on Draft Board

Jalen Carter

GettyDefensive tackle Jalen Carter of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after a defensive stop against the LSU Tigers during the SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

A huge haul for moving down to either No. 2 or No. 4 is the perfect scenario for a Bears team that is planning to ride with Fields under center for the next decade.

Both McShay and Kiper see Chicago opting for defensive tackle Jalen Carter out of Georgia or linebacker Will Anderson Jr. out of Alabama. Both are explosive talents at their positions and offer the promise of a defensive cornerstone for years to come. Both also fit the Bears’ top needs on defense of talent on the defensive interior (Carter) and the edge pass rush (Anderson).

If the Bears move back to No. 2, the Texans are guaranteed to take a QB and Chicago can go in either direction — selecting Carter or Anderson. If the Bears move back to No. 4, then the Colts and Texans are likely to each go QB with the top two picks, leaving at least one of Carter or Anderson for the taking with the fourth overall pick.

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