Proposed Trade Lands Bears 2 Premium Defenders in Draft Deal

Bears Commanders Trade Rumors

Getty Bears head coach Matt Eberflus could be gaining multiple new defensive starters out of the 2023 draft class.

The Chicago Bears have already gained one impressive haul from trading back from the No. 1 spot in the 2023 NFL draft, but there are plenty — including Bears general manager Ryan Poles — who believe there could be an opportunity for them to move back even further into the first round to accelerate their rebuild.

The Bears would be justified if they decided to stay put at No. 9 overall and target one of the top offensive tackles in the 2023 draft class with the selection, but Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports Chicago believes they could find themselves in a situation where all of the “blue-chip players” on Poles’ draft board are gone by the time they make their pick.

If that ends up being the reality, the Bears would have a compelling reason to move back again and pick up another premium pick in the 2023 draft. Shapiro even devised a trade proposal for them with the Washington Commanders that would set them up to aggressively add starter-ready talent to their defense for next season.

Chicago Bears receive: a 2023 first-rounder (No. 16 overall), a 2023 second-rounder (No. 47 overall) and a 2024 fourth-rounder.

Washington Commanders receive: a 2023 first-rounder (No. 9 overall).

Another Top-50 Pick Would Greatly Benefit Bears

With the acquired picks, Shapiro mocked the Bears to select Pittsburgh defensive tackle Calijah Kancey at No. 16 overall and Kansas State edge rusher Felix Anudike-Ozumah at No. 47 overall. Kancey is quite possibly the next-best interior defensive lineman in the class behind Georgia’s Jalen Carter and has the size, speed and aggression to be an ideal fit for the 3-technique role in Matt Eberflus’ Bears defense.

As for Anudike-Ozumah, he is a bendy pass rusher who churned out an excellent 21 sacks over his final two collegiate years. The 6-foot-4, 256-pounder would be an instant starter for a Bears pass-rushing unit that touts Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson as its two best-returning players from last year’s squad.

Shapiro then had the Bears using their remaining two second-round selections to get a pair of starters for their offensive line in Ohio State center Luke Wypler (No. 53) and Syracuse left tackle Matthew Bergeron (No. 61). All in all, the Bears would walk out of the second round with four new Day 1 starters and seven more selections still in the chamber to either trade around for preferred targets or load up at several key spots.

Hard to hate the outlook of that as a Bears fan.

If Bears Want to Trade Back, QB Options Will Be Key

Poles made it clear in a recent interview with The Chicago Sun-Times that he would be “open” to the idea of trading back further in the first round. He noted that it would depend on the framework of the deal and which prospects they would lose out on if they moved back several more spots in the order, but he insisted: “We stay fluid.”

Rather than going through the reasons why the Bears would want to trade back, though, it might make more sense to look at what motivations other teams could have to give up premium draft assets in order to move all the way up to the No. 9 overall spot.

The biggest motivator is the obvious one: quarterbacks. Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson and Kentucky’s Will Levis are the top four passers in the class and could all get scooped up before the Bears are on the clock with the ninth pick. But, if one of them does stay on the board that long, the Bears could start fielding offers for the selection from quarterback-needy teams outside of the top 10. The Commanders (No. 16) would be one option, but the Tennessee Titans (No. 11) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 19) are also in need of a new franchise quarterback.

The other two premium positions that seem likely to tempt non-top-10 teams are wide receiver and cornerback. The run of wide receivers figures to get started no later than the No. 12 overall pick with the Houston Texans, who will have presumably already drafted their new franchise quarterback with the second overall selection. If a team wants to jump the line and get, say, Ohio State star Jaxon Smith-Njigba before the Texans can, the Bears might be happy to oblige if they can get a sizable return.

The cornerback motivation would be a little different, as there is a good chance that one of the top two options — Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon and Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez — could be selected in the first eight picks before the Bears are on the clock. If a team like the Las Vegas Raiders or Atlanta Falcons opt to take one of the premier corners off the board, a bidding war could start among teams that still need upgrades at the spot, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings.

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