2024 NFL Draft - The #1 Pick

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dr morbius

Senior Cook
May 18, 2023
The Island of Misfit Toys
There has been a LOT of discussion in Chicago about the upcoming draft and what the Bears should do with the top overall pick. A lot of people on the radio, including former coaches and analysts, talk about trading the pick for an expected draft haul. Others insist that after three years, Justin Fields simply hasn't demonstrated he's worth the millions it will take for the Bears to commit to him being their QB for the future. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion, and there's a consensus on both sides that the people holding the opposite opinion are ignorant, or stupid, or not paying attention, or whatever the usual default accusation flies when it is clear that I'm right and you're wrong.

This is not what I'm going to address tonight. This is about whether the trade is possible, or even worthwhile.

Now, the Bears had the #1 overall pick last year, and traded down to the #9 spot with the Carolina Panthers. Carolina traded a quality wide receiver to the Bears, D.J. Moore, their top pick in 2023 (#9), their 2nd round pick in 2023 (#61), this year's top overall pick, and their 2nd round pick in 2025. I think the Panthers will be better this year, because they kind of have to be; they were that bad. But I do not see the Panthers making the playoffs. Their needs are too many. So that 2nd round pick next year will be a top 50 pick, and that means a starter. If you draft someone in the top 50, and you fail to get a starter, you've screwed up.

So the Bears got five starters for that #1 pick. I repeat, five starters. There are only 22 starters on a team, so this is over 20%. That's a nice haul, and I understand why fans want to do this again. Here's the rub, though: the team which has that #9 pick this year is the Bears. They can't make the same trade because you can't trade with yourself.

The #2 pick belongs to Washington. The Commanders are interested in drafting a quarterback and Caleb Williams grew up in DC. They might want to trade up. Trading from #2 overall to #1 overall isn't a big jump. A proposed trade I've seen has Washington giving up for the #1 pick: their pick (#2), their second 2nd round pick (#41 overall, which the Bears traded to them for Montez Sweat), and their 6th round pick (#161 overall). That's it. I doubt the Commanders would be willing. They have many needs.

The #3 pick belongs to New England. New England also needs a quarterback, pretty badly, but they also need not just one but two offensive tackles. This is a good year for offensive tackles, and the Patriots have good reason to believe they can pick up a starter with their 2nd round pick (#35 overall). It is unlikely they will want to give up anything in a trade up. One proposed trade I've seen has New England giving up to the Bears the #3 overall, their 2nd rounder this year and a 3rd rounder next year. That's all this trade is worth.

Remember the consolation prizes for these two teams, for standing pat and not going after Caleb Williams, are Drake Maye of North Carolina and Jayden Daniels of LSU.

The #4 pick belongs to Arizona.
The #5 pick belongs to Los Angeles Chargers.
The #6 pick belongs to New York Giants.
The #7 pick belongs to Indianapolis.

For good or ill, all four of these teams are committed to the quarterbacks they have. All of them covet the three outstanding wide receivers expected to go in the top ten, and at least two of them have dire needs at left tackle. Forget about the Bears trading down with any of these teams.

Which brings us to #8, the Atlanta Falcons. They need a quarterback, whether they're willing to admit it or not, and if the Bears got five starters for trading the #1 overall last year to Carolina, you would think they should get at least four if they trade with Atlanta, right?

The trouble is, I don't think the Falcons are interested in giving up all that draft capital. They can see how badly the trade last year went for the Panthers, and they have certainly noticed that the general manager who made that deal for the Panthers got fired. Admittedly, he didn't strictly get fired for giving up all those players; he got fired for giving up all those players and then drafting the wrong guy. Atlanta will surely not make that trade unless they are absolutely positive Caleb Williams is the next coming of Patrick Mahomes, and if that's what he is, why not draft him yourself?

The next teams who need quarterbacks are the Broncos at #12 and the Raiders at #13. If the Panthers had to give up five starters to move up from #9, these two teams would have to give up more, and I don't see them doing it.

So going back to the beginning, a lot of fans want to trade this pick. I think the only way Ryan Poles is able to make the trade is by being willing to accept less than it's worth, and I don't think any of us wants that. It's too soon after last year's trade for anyone to make a move like this. I think the Bears are most likely going to use the #1 pick, because no one will be willing to give up enough to make a trade-down worthwhile.
Teams that put all of their eggs in one basket, and expect one player to magically lift their team from last place to the Super Bowl, end up with losing teams year after year. You have to build a complete team.

If you spend all your cap money on a QB, and then expect bargain basement offensive linemen to keep your high-priced QB from being pummeled every time he takes a snap, then you'll be firing your QB and drafting the next superstar to get a beatdown a few years later.

That, or you build a superstar offense that scores 35 points a game, and your defense gives up 42 points a game... guess what happens???

Look at the 49ers. They went to the Super Bowl this year with a QB who was picked LAST in the Draft. Tom Brady, number 199 in the draft. Shannon Sharpe, number 192.

As a lifelong Steelers fan, I look back at the 1970s Dynasty they had. The experts laughed at many of their draft picks. Who the heck is this Joe Greene guy? From what college? Jack Lambert -- way too small to play linebacker in the NFL. They both have four rings, and they are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

On draft day, I'm going to focus on who my Steelers pick, and if they get the people they need to complete the team. I'll also probably feel sorry for which ever superstar QB get's chosen by the worst team in the NFL. He's likely to get his a$$ kicked and get fired for not bringing the franchise a Super Bowl in three years or less.


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