Six trades spice up Round 1; Bears involved in three


The Chicago Bears are in the 2023 NFL Draft’s catbird seat. They own the No. 1 overall selection, but also have a talented signal-caller already on their squad in Justin Fields, while multiple teams are looking for a face-of-the-franchise type at the game’s most important position.

Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard has already said the Colts will “do whatever it takes” to trade up for their favorite quarterback in this class. It’s easy to connect the dots between Chicago and Indy because Matt Eberflus was the Colts’ defensive coordinator before becoming the Bears’ head coach. The Houston Texans will likely not stand by, however, and allow its division rival to leapfrog them for their top choice of passers.

In this three-round mock, I project the Bears pulling off three of the six listed trades; they first move to the Texans’ second pick and then step down again to the Colts’ No. 4 slot. At least one of the top defenders in the draft will be available at No. 4, possibly the one they would’ve chosen if they had just stayed at No. 1.

Taking the Texans’ offer could be risky for the Bears if the Colts stay at No. 4 after being beaten out for the top spot — but doing “whatever it takes” means Ballard is incentivized to climb the draft ladder. Opening Door No. 1 and Door No. 2 in the trade game allows Chicago GM Ryan Poles to hedge his bets in the hopes that at least one of the two partners send over very early picks after a disappointing 2023 campaign.

No matter which trade adventure Poles and the Bears choose, the franchise wins by netting one of the top defenders in the class while gathering current and future draft capital.

There are seven compensatory picks projected at the end of the third round of this mock. The first two were awarded to the Cardinals and Commanders as compensation for losing 2022 free agents, as projected by Over the Cap in January. The final five reflect the projected compensation gained from teams hiring minority candidates away from the Browns, 49ers and Chiefs for head coach/general manager openings.