The NFL Draft is just two weeks away, and the Chicago Bears are among the few teams with the most control over the league.

They own the 1st overall pick as well as the 9th overall pick.

The odds are that they will select quarterback Caleb Williams first overall now that they have traded Justin Fields, and Williams is the only quarterback they’ve met with privately.

But there are MANY scenarios for the Bears with the 9th overall pick.

Let’s break them down.

Trade Up Scenarios

WR Marvin Harrison Jr

The ultimate draft for the Bears would be doing what it takes to trade up to 4 with Arizona or 5 with the Chargers (if Arizona trades down with a QB-needy team like Minnesota) and getting Harrison Jr to pair up the best two prospects in the draft for the long-haul. The cost would be expensive-when Houston traded up from 12 to 3 last season, it cost them 33, and a 2024 1st and 3rd, while getting back 105.

The Bears would likely have to give up their 2025 1st and the 75th pick to move up and get Harrison Jr if not at least another pick in 2025. Still, I think it would be worth pairing up Harrison Jr, the most complete WR coming out in years, and Williams, the most hyped-up QB in years.

WR Malik Nabers/Rome Odunze

Alternatively, the Bears could give up less to move up anywhere up to 6 (Giants), 7 (Titans), or 8 (Falcons) to select one of the 2nd tier receivers in Nabers or Odunze. Nabers is the speed guy, while Odunze is the jump ball guy. Moving up one spot likely will only cost an additional 4th rounder, while moving up two or three may cost an additional 3rd rounder. I don’t see this scenario happening, however.

OT Joe Alt

Most mock drafts have Alt always going before 9, along with the top 3 QBs and Harrison Jr.

If Ryan Poles and the Bears’ front office identify Alt as a major upgrade over Braxton Jones and as an elite left tackle for a long time, they could move to add him to upgrade the offensive line in front of a rookie QB.

Stay Put Scenarios

A Falling WR

Even with the acquisition of Keenan Allen, the Bears will need another receiver on day 1 or 2, with Allen having just 1 year on his contract, on the wrong side of 30, and no depth behind him and Moore. If one of Nabers or Odunze is available at 9, expect Poles to quickly make them a Bear, giving Caleb Williams an elite stable of weapons without giving up future draft capital and having a backup plan for if Allen leaves after 2024.

EDGE Dallas Turner

Turner appears to be on a collision course to be selected at 8 by the Falcons, but any team could trade up with them for a QB or WR. In that scenario, the Bears could get the consensus top defensive player in the draft at a position of immense need; the only replacement-level DE they have currently is Montez Sweat. Turner would immediately slot in as a 4-3 DE across from him, who is elite against both the rush and the pass.

Best of OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu, JC Latham, Taliese Fuaga

I don’t see this as likely either. The Bears OL is really in a good spot, aside from needing some interior help in the future. Darnell Wright is going to be a star, and Braxton Jones is solid enough that the Bears should only pick Joe Alt if available. Still, they could decide to trade Jones and start with another top 10 OT.

TE Brock Bowers

Bowers is an elite weapon at blocking and receiving, but there are always concerns about taking a TE early. We’ve seen many fail to live up to big expectations; drafting a TE is similar to drafting an RB early in that they immediately become one of the higher-paid players at their position, demanding immediate production, but it takes time to develop at that position. Shane Waldron likes using multi-TE sets, and Bowers would be a great player, but they might not be the right fit for the team compared to other prospects.

Trade Down Scenarios

EDGE Laiatu Latu/Jared Verse

Latu maybe even better than Turner, but he has major injury concerns that will cause him to slip; plus, he is a little bit of a tweener. Verse is an elite pass rusher but is slightly older and still struggles against the run. However, trading back to the middle of the first and picking up draft capital while still filling the team’s biggest need may be the move to make. In fact.

DT Jer’Zhan Newton/Byron Murphy

Andrew Billings and Gervon Dexter are a fine pairing, but the Bears could upgrade there with one of the top two DTs in the class. On tape, Newton and Murphy wreck absolute havoc, even if both are a little undersized. Either of them could fill the Bears’ need for an elite 3-technique DT for Matt Eberflus’s defense.

WR Brian Thomas Jr

Just one WR is expected to go in the teens: Brian Thomas Jr. He’s a mammoth at 6’4″ and can take the top off a defense with his speed. He needs to improve his route running, but he was a huge reason for Jayden Daniels’ breakthrough in 2023.

C Jackson Powers-Johnson/remaining OT

If the Bears move back to their early 20s, JPJ is an option to be the team’s center of the future from 2025 on, or they could still grab one of the remaining offensive tackles.

My Preferred Scenarios

1. Trade up for MHJ

2. Trade down for Latu

3. Stay put for one of Nabers/Odunze

There are very few scenarios that play out that result in a negative outcome for the Bears at 9. But these three scenarios, to me easily, are the best case. They could get two generational prospects in one draft if they trade up for Harrison Jr.

They could get who I think has the most potential defensively in Latu while accumulating draft capital, and I think his ability and talent are worth the injury risk. Or they could make the safe pick of Nabers or Odunze and still put Caleb Williams in a great position to succeed.

Photo: —

Comments are closed.

Check Also

The Future of the Bears & Packers Rivalry

The oldest rivalry in the NFL, the Bears and Packers matchup has undoubtedly lost some of …