The Chicago Bears have secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft after the Carolina Panthers lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. This gives the Bears a monumental opportunity to take a franchise-changing player in next year’s draft.
The Bears originally traded their 2023 first-round pick to the Panthers last year in order to move up and select quarterback Justin Fields. That pick ended up being the No. 1 overall selection after the Panthers finished with the worst record in the league at 2-14.
As part of the trade, the Panthers would send the Bears their 2024 first-round pick if it was higher than the No. 18 selection. With Carolina’s loss on Sunday, they clinched the worst record in the NFL this season at 3-13-1. That officially gives the Bears the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft per the terms of the trade.
There was an outpouring of excitement and celebration from Bears players, coaches and fans after the game on Sunday. The No. 1 pick presents a rare opportunity to draft a transformational player. Here is some of the immediate reaction:
“This is big time for the Bears organization and our fans,” said head coach Matt Eberflus. “Ryan [Poles] now has a chance to really build around Justin Fields going into year three. The future is very bright in Chicago.”
“Unbelievable! Bear Down!” tweeted Fields after the Panthers’ loss was final.
Bears star linebacker Roquan Smith also chimed in saying “Let’s go! Huge for us.”
Fans on social media were equally excited at the opportunity this presents for GM Ryan Poles in the draft. Popular selections at No. 1 in early mock drafts are Alabama QB Bryce Young, Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud or Will Anderson Jr, Alabama’s dominant pass rusher.
All eyes now turn to GM Ryan Poles and what he might do with the incredibly valuable top pick. There are a few options on the table:
Take a Quarterback
Despite trading significant draft capital for Justin Fields just two years ago, some speculate Poles could still take a quarterback at No. 1 if he doesn’t believe Fields is the long-term answer. Players like Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud will be heavily scouted as options to build the offense around instead.
Draft Will Anderson Jr.
If Poles wants to build around Fields and supplement him with more talent, drafting Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. is an intriguing choice. Anderson Jr. is considered a “generational talent” as a pass rusher. With Chicago struggling to generate pressure or sacks, he could transform their defense immediately.
Another tempting option would be for Ryan Poles to field trade offers for the No. 1 pick, adding valuable extra Day 1 and 2 picks in the process. Quarterback-needy teams like the Raiders, Falcons, Commanders or others could pay a hefty price to trade up for a QB prospect like Young or Stroud.
No matter which direction Poles goes, having the No. 1 pick gives the Bears GM flexibility and options to set up the franchise for long-term success as he continues rebuilding the roster.
Here is the current draft order of the first 10 picks after the completion of Week 18:
|Chicago Bears (from CAR)
|Seattle Seahawks (from DEN)
|Los Angeles Rams
|Detroit Lions (from LAR)
|Las Vegas Raiders
|Philadelphia Eagles (from NO)
The Bears are now on the clock with the most valuable pick in the draft. After multiple trades between teams, Chicago finds itself with this coveted selection and a wealth of options at their disposal.
Bears GM Ryan Poles could go in any number of directions, whether picking a new potential franchise QB, drafting a defensive star like Will Anderson Jr. to terrorize opposing offenses, or trading down to stockpile additional premium draft capital.
No matter what Poles elects to do, one thing is clear – the future is suddenly looking much brighter for Bears fans. After posting the league’s worst record, the No. 1 pick presents Chicago with a golden opportunity to land an elite talent that could shape the trajectory of the franchise for the next decade.
In the coming months the football world will be watching closely what Poles does with his new draft riches after securing the top pick. One thing is certain – it’s an excellent position for the Bears to be in heading into a crucial offseason.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.