Creating the Bears’ perfect blueprint: Chicago wins the lottery after trading the #1 overall pick

It’s been almost 40 years since the legendary Bears won the Super Bowl in 1985. While this team continues to be revered by Bears loyalists, rest assured that the fanbase wants nothing more than for the franchise to field another team to stand alongside this team as world champions.

In the second year of their rebuild, the Bears made a big leap Friday after Trading the #1 overall selection in the April draft to the Panthers. In addition to two picks in this year’s draft, the Bears also get the Panthers’ first-round pick in the 2024 draft and a second-round pick in the 2025 draft. They also gave Justin Fields another weapon in wideout DJ Moore, who is also part of the trade was.

The trade was a big move in the bears’ 2023 off-season, but there’s still work to be done. Here’s what general manager Ryan Poles can do during the draft to continue improving the Bears roster.

Before we do that, here’s a reminder of what draft picks the bears currently hold after Friday’s trading.

Bears 2023 draft picks

Round 1, No. 9 overall (by Panthers)

Round 2, #56 overall (by Ravens)

Round 2, #61 (by Panthers)

Round 3, #65 overall

Round 4, #103 overall

Round 4, No. 134 overall (by Eagles)

Round 5, #136 overall

Round 5, #149 overall (by Ravens)

Take the best available first round pick player

Leaving a season 3-14 almost every position could use an upgrade. For that reason, it would be prudent for the Bears to pick the best available player still available when they’re No. 9 overall pick on the clock, regardless of position (other than quarterback, of course).

Chicago will likely use the pick to choose either a receiver, defender, or pass rusher. Possible options include pass-rusher Tyree Wilson, defenders Jalen Carter and Myles Murphy, and full-back Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Fields knows Smith-Njigba well, having played with him at Ohio State.

The Bears could also choose to use the pick for an offensive tackle. Options include Georgia’s Broderick Jones and Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. Like Smith-Njigba, Fields played with Johnson during his time with the Buckeyes.

Address WR and OL

Much like the Bengals did last offseason, it would be prudent for the Bears to use a free hand to tackle the offensive line. Chicago can’t afford to rely on linemen tasked with protecting Fields, who was sacked 55 times last season. Veteran tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is sure to be on Chicago’s free-agent radar. That doesn’t mean the Bears should completely ignore position in the draft, though. As mentioned above, the bears can choose to address this need in the first round.

Unless you’re former Steelers GM Kevin Colbert (whose resume includes draft picks from Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and George Pickens), picking a future one is Star receiver challenging crap. Because of this, the bears should use multiple tips for position. Make sure the Bears use at least one of their Day 2 picks on a receiver as they continue to bolster their receiving corps on Day 3 of the draft. Possible Day 2 options include Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt, SMU’s Rashee Rice and Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims.

Hyatt stormed onto the stage with 15 touchdown catches for the Volunteers last year. Rice caught 10 touchdowns while finishing four catches just under 100 for the season. Though his numbers aren’t quite as impressive, Mims has still caught 20 touchdowns in three years with the Sooners while averaging a whopping 19.5 yards per catch.

Invite pass rushers and defensive linemen

Some of the league’s top pass rushers have been either late-round picks or undrafted players (examples include Richard Dent, Deacon Jones, Clyde Simmons, and James Harrison). Like the receiver, the Bears should invest in that position mid-draft after only 20 sacks last year.

The Bears could get a bargain if Nolan Smith is still available with 61st or 65th pick overall. Smith, who helped the Bulldogs win back-to-back national titles, only played eight games last season after suffering a season-ending pectoral injury.

If Smith isn’t available, Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV is another interesting prospect. A veteran varsity player, McDonald recorded consecutive double-digit sack seasons in 2020-21. His numbers went down last year, but that was probably because he played in different places on the defensive line.

As for versatility, Ohio State’s Zach Harrison would be an asset to the Bears’ defensive line. In addition to 11 sacks for the Buckeyes, Harrison was effective at pass defense and also a turnover magnet in his final season in Columbus.

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