Chicago Bears

2023 NFL Draft: 5 prospects the Chicago Bears should target if they trade the No. 1 pick

The Chicago Bears are expected to trade out of the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft any day now. It’s no longer a matter of if; it’s simply a matter of when. But how far back GM Ryan Poles is willing to go remains a mystery. He said he wants to remain in position to draft a “blue player,” the highest grade issued by the Bears’ scouting department.

The Bears will have no shortage of trade partners in a trade-back scenario. The Houston Texans at No. 2, the Indianapolis Colts at No. 4, the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 7, the Carolina Panthers at No. 9, and the Tennessee Titans at No. 11 have all been mentioned as teams interested in moving up.

Trading down to the second pick is a logical move if Poles wants to guarantee the Chicago Bears end up with Will Anderson Jr., the dominant edge rusher from Alabama, or Jalen Carter, the disruptive three-technique from Georgia. We’ll assume for this post that Carter’s legal issues are resolved by draft weekend and that he remains in the conversation for the No. 1 pick.

But a trade with the Texans will also net the Bears the lowest return. Perhaps they end up with a second-round pick in 2023 and 2024 (in addition to the No. 2 pick); that’s about as much as they’ll get. Sliding back two more spots to No. 4 is where Chicago can reasonably expect a first-round pick in 2024 as part of the deal, and there’s a chance it can even be the sweet spot for a 2025 first-rounder, too. Any trade that involves the Chicago Bears dropping further than No. 4 is almost certain to result in first-round picks into 2025.

The most impactful decision Ryan Poles can make is a trade that creates positive aftershocks for the Bears for several seasons. Poles wants that result, so it’s fair to expect a trade that will drop Chicago to the bottom half of the top 10.

Can the Bears still get a blue player if they trade with the Panthers or Titans? Who knows. Only Poles and his scouts know what their grades are. But here are five players who’d dramatically improve Chicago’s roster if they drop several spots in the first round.

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