The combination of the Bears’ 29-13 loss to the Vikings and the Texans’ 32-31 win over the Colts gives Chicago the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Bears finished the season with a record of 3-14, while Houston finished 3-13-1. The Colts and Texans tied 20-20 in Week 1, and that proved to be the difference in giving Chicago a worse record.
The Texans beat the Colts by converting a two-point attempt with 50 seconds left in the game. Thank you, Lovie Smith. What a WILD afternoon of football for two teams that are a few years away from making the playoffs. If the Bears do not trade the top pick, Lovie will still get his top quarterback.
The Bears’ offseason begins immediately. Matt Eberflus and his coaching staff will provide final player evaluations to the front office. Ryan Poles and Ian Cunningham have already been scouting NCAA players. The Bears are very likely to trade down to one of the teams hoping to land quarterbacks Bryce Young (Alabama) or CJ Stroud (Ohio State). Poles has a lot of holes to fill, but the consensus is that he will address the defensive line at the top of the draft. Chicago has the NFL’s worst pass rush and is ranked dead last in quarterback sacks.
The Bears have never owned the top pick in the Super Bowl era. The organization will also enter the offseason with more salary cap availability than any other team. The Bears also have the league’s top rushing offense, and they lost seven games by one score. Still, this year’s overhaul should look a lot like last year’s. Justin Fields will enter 2023 as the incumbent starter, and Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool will head his veteran receiver room. Cole Kmet had a breakout year so Fields has a couple of weapons at his disposal. Chicago still needs a No. 1 wide receiver, however.
The team needs a lot of help on the offensive line, too. There is a good chance that Cody Whitehair, Lucas Patrick, Sam Mustipher, and Riley Reiff will not return. That means Poles will rebuild his line around Braxton Jones, Teven Jenkins, and a center-to-be-named-later. Alex Leatherwood should have an opportunity to compete for a starting position at the right or left guard.
The Bears also need help at linebacker. Jack Sanborn could be Chicago’s only returning starter. As I said, Poles and his staff have quite a bit of work to do. The first part of the process is controlling the NFL Draft, and Poles has that luxury, now. Stay with us here at Bears Insider all offseason. We’ll cover every cut, free agency signing, and draft pick through the team’s first minicamp in May.