Teams who land the top overall pick are rarely willing to part ways with the selection, but it seems like that will be the case this year. Chicago has been fielding calls for the prized spot, and they could find a trade partner as early as this week if negotiations intensify at the NFL Scouting Combine. They should be able to land quite the haul regardless of how far they move down the board, as history has shown that teams are willing to pay a premium to move up to select a quarterback. However, the Bears are in a unique position where they might be able to trade down twice and still be confident in landing a game-changer with their first pick.
While teams maneuver the draft board every year, they almost never trade down twice before selecting a player (outside of Madden, that is). Making this type of move shows extreme confidence in a front office’s draft board and ability to locate talent, especially when picking at the top of the draft order like Chicago is. They are passing up on the chance to select blue-chip prospects in Jalen Carter or Will Anderson Jr. by even trading down once (assuming they move down further than Houston’s second pick), let alone twice.
Nevertheless, it is easy to see the appeal of trading down. While adding an elite talent like Carter or Anderson to the defensive line would certainly help improve upon the Bears’ league-worst pass rush, the slew of assets they would acquire by moving down greatly outweigh their impact. Chicago is not one pass-rusher (even a potentially elite one) away from becoming a contender. They are a team with many needs, and taking more shots on goal is their best chance at filling them quickly and expediting the rebuild.
Ryan Poles made his intentions clear as soon as he had the opportunity to do so. In his introductory press conference, he said his goal was to take the NFC North and never give it back and vowed to build the team through the draft. He will have to excel at the latter if he wants to succeed at the former, and the first-year GM had a strong showing in his first attempt at doing so last offseason.
It is important to remember the state of the franchise just one year ago. Poles inherited a team going through an identity crisis and seemingly careening down a dark path, as they only had a handful of draft picks and virtually no spending money. While it is fair to question some of his decisions in year one, there is no denying that he made the most of a bad situation in last year’s draft. Despite not having a first-round pick, he promptly turned five draft picks into an 11-man class with three day-one starters. Most impressively, he also located an undrafted gem in linebacker Jack Sanborn, who looks like a potential long-term starter on the defensive side of the ball.
While Kansas City has a reputation for being one of the best drafting teams in the league, that is much more of a testament to their ability to find players late in the draft than anything else. Patrick Mahomes was the only non-rookie starter they drafted in the first round. Their leading rusher Isiah Pacheco got drafted in the seventh round. Their leading tackler, Nick Bolton, was a second-round pick, and so was Chris Jones, their best defensive player. Juan Thornhill and L’Jarius Sneed tied for the team lead with three interceptions. They were drafted in the second and fourth-round, respectively. Ryan Poles had a front-row seat to the building of the Chiefs’ dynasty, and it’s safe to say he took notes on how it got built.
This will be a big week for the Bears brass if they are open to moving down the board multiple times before the draft, as they have a better chance of finding a suitor for their new selection if a deal happens sooner rather than later. With that said, how likely are they to pull the trigger on a double trade-down?
The odds of a front office agreeing to move down twice would normally be slim. However, it feels like there is a real chance they maneuver down the draft board with Poles at the helm. The fact that the class lacks a slam-dunk top quarterback prospect actually supports the notion that a double trade could be attainable. They could move down twice with teams desperate to leap other QB-needy teams and walk away with a bevy of picks in the process. No matter what route they decide to take, one thing is for sure- This offseason is bound to be an exciting one, and the Bears hold the keys to it.